BACKGROUND: Caudal block has proved to be a satisfactory method of providing perioperative analgesia for pediatric surgery in the inguinal and perineal areas. The object of this study was to compare the general (n=55) with caudal anesthesia (n=41) in pediatric inguinal herniorrhaphy during surgery and postoperative 24 hours in their changes of behaviors in the recovery room, and other complications. METHODS: Ninety six children who underwent to inguinal herniorrhaphy were devided into two groups. Group I was given general anesthesia as usual methods using endotracheal intubation. Group II was given caudal block using 1% lidocaine 1 ml/kg or 0.25% bupivacaine 1 ml/kg, or a mixture of both of them at the ratio of 1:1, 1 ml/kg. All caudal blocks were carried out in left lateral position after ketamine 1-1.5 mg/kg intravenous injection. The side effects during and after operation and postoperative behavior in the recovery room, neurologic complications and postoperative fever incidence were observed and compared with the two groups. RESULTS: In group I (n=55), 13 cases (23.6%) showed hoarseness after extubation. 78.2% of 55 patients were irritable and cryng in the recovery room. Postoperative fever incidence was over 69%. In group II (n=41), almost all patients were calm and stayed quiet in the recovery room. However there were 3 cases of bradycardia and 2 cases of hypotension during operation. Postoperative complications were rare and the mumber of patients with fever was 36.6% which was significantly low compared to group I. CONCLUSIONS: As the results of this study, we report that caudal anesthesia is a safe, simple practical method with few complications for inguinal herniorraphy in children compared with general anesthesia. We also recommend that the caudal block can be used safely in pediatric outpatient surgery.