For several years the types of surgeries and number of surgeries that we perform on infants as young as newborn, have increased. Our ability to work on their tiny bodies, solve and fix problems that there were not solutions too before, has dramatically improved. At the same time, we have been unaware of the pain they feel during these surgeries, or at what levels they can feel pain. A new study conducted on babies while undergoing surgery now tells us that babies feel pain in the same way that we do as adults.
By using neuro-sensors, doctors can watch the pain centers of infants, just like they are able to do in adults that are being treated for pain or experience pain during surgery. In surgery, the same places that light up when adults feel pain, also light up on a babies brain when they are bothered by certain stimuli. This indication tells us that they are able to feel the same way an adult does, something that up until now we were uncertain about, but held as not being equal.
This new study is important because while adults are given pain medication throughout and after surgery, babies are not. Date reports that while babies themselves cannot tell us about the pain they are experiencing or feeling, their brains can, and do. These new studies may lead to changes in the way we look at pain management in infants.