Neonates are both capable of experiencing pain and memory formation, albeit implicit memory. During surgical procedures, insufficient ablation of the stress response and possible implicit memory formation of intra-operative events might result in adverse early and long-term outcomes. Neonates deserve the same respect as adult patients. It is thus the responsibility of the anaesthetist to provide sufficient anaesthesia for neonates undergoing surgery. A critical approach in weighing the risks and benefits of exposing a neonate to anaesthesia is prudent, and truly elective surgery should be delayed.

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Best Practice and Research: Clinical Anaesthesiology
Department of Anesthesiology

Weber, F. (2010). Evidence for the need for anaesthesia in the neonate. Best Practice and Research: Clinical Anaesthesiology, 24(3), 475–484. doi:10.1016/j.bpa.2010.02.016