Who we are
The anesthesiologists at Children’s Hospital Boston specialize in the care of children of all ages—from newborn to teenagers—during surgery. Our goal is to make the hospital experience as pleasant as we can: to help manage your child’s anxiety before surgery, as well as his or her pain after surgery—plus support critical bodily functions and minimize the risks associated with surgery.
The Anesthesia Department at Children’s includes:
The Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center: an intensive rehabilitation program that serves the needs of children and adolescents with chronic musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain
Sedation Services: sedation services for children who must undergo painful or scary procedures
Medical Acupuncture Service: acute and chronic pain management through acupuncture
Cardiac Anesthesia Services: anesthesia and pain management for cardiac (heart), thoracic (lungs) or vascular (blood vessels) surgeries
- Pain Treatment Services: treatment and support for acute and chronic pain, mostly post-operative
Physicians at Children’s continually re-examine the standard methods of anesthesiology and work to develop better, more reliable practices for protecting heart, lung and brain function and blood circulation during anesthesia. Our record of innovation and publication has earned us top recognition.
- Anesthesia Department faculty are currently researching how to prevent post-operative nausea and vomiting.
- In the Pain Treatment research laboratory, investigators are looking into the development of timed-release systems for local anesthetics that can provide prolonged analgesia for days or weeks following injection or implantation.
- Children’s Pain Treatment Services has become a referral center for children with many types of neuropathic pain, but especially limb pain associated with signs of abnormal circulation, or reflex sympathetic dystrophy. The chief of the division, Charles Berde, MD, has received several awards and honors for his pioneering work in pediatric pain relief, including the 2003 Scientific Achievement Award of the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association. He was also profiled as one of Time Magazine's “Heroes in Medicine” in 1997.
- Pain Treatment Services is the most clinically active pediatric pain program in the world.
- The Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center is the most comprehensive stand-alone, day hospital program of its kind in the United States, offering intensive multidisciplinary rehabilitation to children and adolescents who have not responded to traditional outpatient treatment.
Does anesthesia affect the developing brain?
Giving anesthesia to newborns is always risky because their immature physiology increases the chance of complications. There’s also growing concern about possible neurotoxic effects on brain development that could cause long-term behavioral and cognitive problems. Mary Ellen McCann, MD, of Children’s Department of Anesthesiology is investigating the long-term effects of two commonly used modes of anesthesia—spinal and general—on newborns undergoing hernia surgery. McCann hopes the results will enable parents to make a more informed choice about what type of anesthesia their child receives. “If it turns out that there is a difference, it would change anesthesia for young infants worldwide,” says McCann.
Long-lasting nerve block could change pain management
Researchers at Children’s have developed a slow-release anesthetic drug-delivery system that could potentially revolutionize treatment of pain during and after surgery, and may also have a large impact on chronic pain management. “The idea was to have a single injection that could produce a nerve block lasting days, weeks, maybe even months,” explains the report’s senior author, Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD, principal investigator. “It would be useful for conditions like chronic pain where, rather than use narcotics, which are systemic and pose a risk of addiction, you could just put that piece of the body to sleep, so to speak.”
Giving anesthesia to newborns is always risky because their immature physiology increases the chance of complications. In addition to the short-term risks, there is growing concern about possible neurotoxic effects on brain development that could cause long-term behavioral and cognitive problems.
Mary Ellen McCann, MD, MPH, is collaborating with researchers in Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom to investigate the long-term effects of two commonly used modes of anesthesia—spinal and general. Mary Ellen McCann, MD, an anesthesiologist at Children's has initiated a study to compare regional (localized) anesthesia with general anesthesia in young children.
Conditions & Treatments
- Blood donations and blood banking
- Congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation (CCAM)
- Congenital limb defects
- Facial fractures
- Intravenous line and tubes
- Medical Acupuncture Service
- Minimally invasive cardiac surgery
- Patellofemoral pain
- Preoperative Clinic
- Sedation Services