Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


School of Nursing



Date of Original Version



Postoperative pain is an unpleasant consequence of all surgical procedures. It is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. There are many negative consequences to postoperative pain including delayed recovery, increased healthcare costs, and overall dissatisfaction with care. There are many methods to minimize postoperative pain. Spinal anesthesia has been used for years to improve postoperative pain across a variety of surgical procedures. New research has shown that the use of adjuvant medications with intrathecal bupivacaine greatly improves postoperative pain. One adjuvant medication is dexmedetomidine. The purpose of this systematic review was to determine if the administration of intrathecal dexmedetomidine, as an adjuvant medication to bupivacaine, impacts postoperative pain in adult patients undergoing surgery. A literature review was conducted using the PRISMA flow diagram. Data was then collected from each study and a cross study analysis was conducted. Findings indicated, in all studies, the addition of dexmedetomidine to intrathecal bupivacaine decreased postoperative pain levels. Integration of dexmedetomidine into spinal anesthesia can make an immense difference in postoperative analgesia and recovery, an important consideration for anesthesia providers.

Included in

Nursing Commons