Purpose: This prospective, randomized, double-blind study was designed to assess whether intraoperative infusion of dexmedetomidine provides effective postoperative analgesia. Postoperative pain scores and morphine consumption were compared in a treated group and a placebo group, both of which received patient-controlled morphine after total abdominal hysterectomy. Methods: Fifty women were randomly assigned to two groups. Group D (n = 25) received a loading dose of dexmedetomidine 1 μg·kg-1 iv during induction of anesthesia, followed by a continuous infusion at a rate of 0.5, μg·kg-1·hr-1 throughout the operation. Group P (n = 25) received a volume-matched bolus and infusion of placebo (0.9% saline). For each case, heart rate, peripheral oxygen saturation, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure were recorded intraoperatively and for 48 hr postoperatively. Patients used a patient-controlled analgesia device to receive bolus doses of morphine after surgery. Total morphine consumption, pain scores, and sedation scores were recorded for the first 48 hr (two hours in the postanesthesia care unit and 46 hr on the ward). Results: The groups were similar with respect to mean times to extubation of the trachea. Pain and sedation scores were also similar between groups at all corresponding times throughout the 48-hr period of observation. Group D patients consumed significantly less morphine in the postanesthesia care unit and on the ward (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively). Fewer patients in Group D experienced itching or nausea/vomiting (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Continuous iv dexmedetomidine during abdominal surgery provides effective postoperative analgesia, and reduces postoperative morphine requirements without increasing the incidence of side effects.