Efficacy and safety of dexmedetomidine as an adjuvant to local wound infiltration anaesthesia: A meta-analysis with trial sequential analysis of 23 randomised controlled trials

Int Wound J. 2021 Feb;18(1):32-48. doi: 10.1111/iwj.13517. Epub 2020 Nov 9.


To further identify the real efficacy and safety of dexmedetomidine as an adjuvant to local wound infiltration anaesthesia, we conducted this meta-analysis. The systematic search strategy was performed using PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Chinese databases. As a result, a total of 23 RCTs (1445 patients) were included. Patients receiving dexmedetomidine combined with local anaesthetics had a lower rescue analgesia rate [risk ratio (RR): 0.48; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.36-0.65] and lower rescue analgesic consumption [weighted mean difference (WMD): -10.80 mg; 95%CI: -13.28 to -8.31 mg] than patients receiving local anaesthetics alone. The dexmedetomidine-related adverse reactions included bradycardia (RR: 1.33; 95%CI: 0.32-5.56) and hypotension (RR: 3.00; 95%CI: 0.49-18.42). In addition, the time to first analgesic request (WMD: 296.16 minutes; 95%CI: 165.69 minutes ~ 426.63 minutes), incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) and pain scores at 4 hours postoperatively were also significantly lower in patients receiving dexmedetomidine combined with local anaesthetics. This meta-analysis demonstrated that the use of dexmedetomidine as an adjuvant to wound infiltration is effective for reducing the rescue analgesia rate, rescue analgesic consumption and PONV. In addition, limited evidence shows that dexmedetomidine can prolong postoperative analgesia for approximately 5 hours. Further investigations on dexmedetomidine-related adverse reactions and the dose-response effect of dexmedetomidine in wound infiltration are warranted.

Keywords: adjuvant; dexmedetomidine; local wound infiltration; meta-analysis; trial sequential analysis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Local*
  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use
  • Dexmedetomidine* / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Dexmedetomidine