The number of outpatient surgical procedures in the United States has more than doubled from 12 to 26 million over the past few decades.1 The anesthetic plan should be tailored to allow rapid recovery; however, the combination of sedatives with analgesics such as opioids can lead to respiratory depression, which could prolong recovery from ambulatory surgery. In addition, we are increasingly aware that some portion of opioid-naïve patients may become chronic opioid users following surgery.2-4  With the ongoing public health crisis of opioid addiction, more focus and attention has been placed on decreasing perioperative opioid consumption. Fortunately, adjuvants such as dexmedetomidine may be incorporated into the anesthetic plan in order to decrease perioperative opioid requirements and usage.

Dexmedetomidine is a centrally acting selective alpha-2 receptor agonist with sedative, analgesic and neuroprotective properties. It is very valuable in the ambulatory setting given its properties of sedation with...

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