Laughing Gas

Getting stitches on the face is no fun for anyone, but it is especially frightening to young children.

A study published in the January 2001 issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine evaluated different ways to reduce distress in children needing facial laceration repair. Some of the children received a topical anesthetic alone, some received an anesthetic plus nitrous oxide (laughing gas), some received an anesthetic plus midazolam (an anti-anxiety drug, similar to valium), and some received ‘all of the above’.

Laughing gas plus a local anesthetic gave the best results — the lowest distress during cleaning, stitching, and shots, as well as the fewest side effects and the quickest recovery.

This was a happy solution for painful or frightening procedures in kids as young as age 2.

Published on: January 15, 2001
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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