Ophthalmic pediatric regional anesthesia has been widely described, but infrequently used. This review summarizes the available evidence supporting the use of conduction anesthesia in pediatric ophthalmic surgery. Key anatomic differences in axial length, intraocular pressure, and available orbital space between young children and adults impact conduct of ophthalmic regional anesthesia. The eye is near adult size at birth and completes its growth rapidly while the orbit does not. This results in significantly diminished extraocular orbital volumes for local anesthetic deposition. Needle-based blocks are categorized by relation of the needle to the extraocular muscle cone (ie, intraconal or extraconal) and in the cannula-based block, by description of the potential space deep to the Tenon capsule. In children, blocks are placed after induction of anesthesia by a pediatric anesthesiologist or ophthalmologist, via anatomic landmarks or under ultrasonography. Ocular conduction anesthesia confers several advantages for eye surgery including analgesia, akinesia, ablation of the oculocardiac reflex, and reduction of postoperative nausea and vomiting. Short (16 mm), blunt-tip needles are preferred because of altered globe-to-orbit ratios in children. Soft-tip cannulae of varying length have been demonstrated as safe in sub-Tenon blockade. Ultrasound technology facilitates direct, real-time visualization of needle position and local anesthetic spread and reduces inadvertent intraconal needle placement. The developing eye is vulnerable to thermal and mechanical insults, so ocular-rated transducers are mandated. The adjuvant hyaluronidase improves ocular akinesia, decreases local anesthetic dosage requirements, and improves initial block success; meanwhile, dexmedetomidine increases local anesthetic potency and prolongs duration of analgesia without an increase in adverse events. Intraconal blockade is a relative contraindication in neonates and infants, retinoblastoma surgery, and in the presence of posterior staphylomas and buphthalmos. Specific considerations include pertinent pediatric ophthalmologic topics, block placement in the syndromic child, and potential adverse effects associated with each technique. Recommendations based on our experience at a busy academic ophthalmologic tertiary referral center are provided.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine