Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




More than 5 million children undergo surgery in the United States each year, and it is estimated that up to 75% (3.75 million) of them experience significant postoperative pain (Fortier, MacLaren, Martink, Perret-Karimi, & Kain, 2009). While we have come a long way in our knowledge of pain in children, it is often found that pain is inadequately assessed and treated. Aside from the cost associated with increased utilization of medical visits, psychological implications (anxiety, avoidance, sleep disturbances), and increased parental distress related to pediatric pain, there are many physiologic changes associated with pain that may delay or prevent wound healing. Increasing awareness of pharmacologic trends in pediatric analgesia may assist anesthesia staff in providing adequate intraoperative analgesia and decreasing postoperative pain.

Many components that contribute to postoperative pediatric pain have been studied. Due to the extensive amount of research available on this topic, for the purposes of this independent project, research will be limited to those children ages 2-12 years old undergoing tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (T&A). T&A is one of the most common pediatric surgical procedures and is well known to be associated with significant postoperative pain (Fortier et all., 2009).

The purpose of this independent project is to identify pharmacologic agents that are presently being employed intraoperatively to provide analgesia to the pediatric population. A comprehensive review of the literature was performed using PubMed and CINAHL databases. Current research findings on the topic of interest and related topics were reviewed. Melzack and Wall’s gate control theory of pain was used as a theoretical framework.