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Adjuvant perineural dexmedetomidine can be used to prolong the analgesic effect of interscalene brachial plexus block (ISB). We investigated the optimal dose of dexmedetomidine in ISB for postoperative analgesia in patients undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery.One hundred patients scheduled for elective shoulder arthroscopic surgery were enrolled in this randomized, double-blind study. Ultrasound-guided ISB was performed before general anesthesia using 22 mL of ropivacaine 0.5% combined with 1, 1.5, or 2 μg/kg of dexmedetomidine (group D1, D2, and D3, respectively) or with normal saline as a control (group R, n = 25 per group). The primary outcome was the duration of analgesia (DOA), numeric pain rating scale (NRS), and consumption of additional analgesics during 36 h after ISB. Secondary outcome included durations of motor and sensory block (DOM and DOS), hemodynamic variables and sedation and dyspnea scores.Ninety-seven patients completed the study. The DOS, DOM, and DOA were significantly longer in the dexmedetomidine groups than in group R. The DOA was significantly longer in group D3 than in groups D1 (P = .026) and D2 (P = .039). The DOA was 808.13 ± 179.97, 1032.60 ± 288.14, 1042.04 ± 188.13, and 1223.96 ± 238.06 min in groups R, D1, D2, and D3, respectively. The NRS score was significantly higher in group R than in the dexmedetomidine groups 12 h after ISB (P < .001) and significantly lower in group D3 than in the other groups 18 h after ISB (P = .02). The incidence of hypotension was higher in groups D2 and D3 than in group R during surgery (P = .008 and P = .011, respectively). There were no significant differences in consumption of rescue analgesics, sedation, and dyspnea scores between the study groups.Perineural dexmedetomidine 2 μg/kg could be the optimal dose in ISB for arthroscopic shoulder surgery in that it provides an adequate DOA. However, this dose was associated with increased risk of hypotension.