In 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration warned that exposure to anesthetic medicines for lengthy periods of time or over multiple surgeries may affect brain development in children aged less than 3 years. Since then, the clinical literature continues to find mixed evidence of pediatric anesthesia-related neurotoxicity. However, several new human studies provide strong evidence that a single short exposure to general anesthesia in young children does not cause detectable neurocognitive injury by neuropsychological testing. These newer findings are reassuring, but cannot be extrapolated to children who are deemed to be at highest risk of neurologic injury after anesthesia.

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