ObjectivesTo evaluate the relationship between pharmacokinetic descriptors of dexmedetomidine (predicted area under the curve during the procedure, predicted plasma level at the end of the procedure, and duration of procedure) and sedation depth (proportion of time with bispectral index <85 during the procedure) with recovery time after ambulatory procedures.Materials and methodsClinical observational study of patients undergoing oral and maxillofacial ambulatory surgery with dexmedetomidine as sole sedative agent. Patients received a loading dose of dexmedetomidine (0.25-1gkg(-1)) followed by a maintenance infusion (0.2-1.4gkg(-1)h(-1)) to keep a bispectral index <85 until 5min before the end of the procedure, and were transferred to a post-anesthesia care unit until criteria for discharge were met.ResultsData from 75 patients was analyzed. Sedation depth was directly associated with recovery time (Pearson correlation coefficient [r]=0.26; p=0.024). Around 7% of the variation in recovery time was explained by the proportion of time with bispectral index <85. No association with procedure duration (r=0.01; p=0.9), predicted area under the curve (r=0.1; p=0.4), or predicted plasma level of dexmedetomidine at the end of the procedure (r=0.12; p=0.3) with recovery time was observed.ConclusionsSedation depth with dexmedetomidine could play a role in increasing recovery time after oral and maxillofacial ambulatory surgery. In our study, the pharmacokinetic descriptors of dexmedetomidine did not seem to influence recovery time.Clinical relevanceSedation depth with dexmedetomidine could play a role in increasing recovery time after ambulatory procedures.