Neonatal Anesthesia Neurotoxicity: A Review for Cleft and Craniofacial Surgeons

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There is growing evidence that the commonly used anesthetic agents cause some degree of damage to the early developing brain. The animal evidence for anesthetic neurotoxicity is compelling. Numerous confounders in human research prevent researchers from drawing definitive conclusions about the degree of risk. For every surgery, it should be assessed whether the benefits of an early surgical procedure justify a potential but unquantifiable risk of neurotoxicity of anesthetic agents. The timing and number of surgeries in our treatment protocols may need to be reevaluated to account for these potential risks.

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