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Common Procedures and Levels of Sedation

Connecticut Children’s sedation specialists will talk with parents and families about the level of sedation needed based on the individual child and procedure being performed. There are three levels of sedation defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Level 1 Sedation (minimal sedation) is typically offered to pediatric patients who are undergoing a minor, but stressful procedure. Minimal sedation provides children with the help needed to relieve anxiety to get through the procedure while remaining alert enough to respond normally to verbal commands. Minimal sedation usually works well for non-painful procedures in older children and adolescents.
  • Level 2 Sedation (moderate sedation) is usually offered to younger patients who must lie still for a period of time or who are undergoing procedures that may cause some mild discomfort or pain. Generally, these children are too young to understand that a test or procedure will benefit their health or well-being, and will need to be drowsy while the procedure is performed. Typical procedures carried out under moderate sedation are small joint injections or the drainage of skin infections.
  • Level 3 Sedation (deep sedation) is offered to pediatric patients who must undergo painful procedures or a test where lying absolutely still is required. Deep sedation generally means that a child is asleep during a procedure or test, such as an MRI or spinal tap.

Common procedures that we provide sedation for include:

  • Radiology exams such as CAT scans, ultrasound, a special type of X-ray imaging known as fluoroscopy, and direct arthrograms of the joints where a contrast material is injected to get a better image of the joints, steroid joint injections for arthritis
  • Botox injections to temporarily paralyze muscles or prevent spasms
  • Nerve blocks to decrease inflammation or block pain
  • Lumbar punctures to collect and examine the fluid around the brain and spinal cord
  • Biopsies to obtain tissue samples
  • Hearing tests (brain stem evoked response tests)
  • Incision of skin infections
  • Casting and reduction of broken bones
  • Dental extractions
  • Removal of sutures or stitches
  • Blood draws and vaccine administration
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