UNLABELLED With the development of new computer-assisted target-controlled infusion (TCI) systems and the availability of short-acting anesthetics, total IV anesthesia (TIVA) has become increasingly popular. The aim of this study was to compare costs of TCI-based anesthesia with two standard anesthesia regimens. Sixty patients undergoing elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy were randomly divided into three groups. Group 1 (TIVA/TCI) received TIVA using a propofol-based TCI system and continuous administration of remifentanil; Group 2 (isoflurane) underwent inhaled anesthesia with isoflurane, fentanyl, and N2O; Group 3 (standard propofol) received fentanyl and N2O and a continuous infusion of propofol using a standard delivery system. Maintenance doses for anesthetics were adjusted according to the patient's need. Isoflurane consumption was measured by weighing the vaporizer by using a precision weighing machine. Duration of surgery and of anesthesia was similar in the three groups. Time from stopping administration of anesthetics until tracheal extubation (6+/-2 min) and stay in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU; 70+/-12 min) were shorter in Group 1 than in the Groups 2 (15+/-3 and 87+/-13 min, respectively) and 3 (10+/-4 and 81+/-14 min, respectively) (P < 0.05). Episodes of postoperative nausea and vomiting in the PACU and on the surgical ward were less common in Group 1 than in the other two groups. Intraoperative costs were higher in Group 1 ($62.19/patient; $0.55/min of anesthesia) than in Groups 2 ($16.97/patient; $0.13/min of anesthesia) and 3 ($34.68/patient; $0.32/min of anesthesia). Cost for discarded anesthetic drugs accounted for almost 18% of total intraoperative costs in Group 1. We conclude that TIVA/TCI anesthesia using propofol/remifentanil was associated with the highest intraoperative costs but the fewest postoperative side effects. An overall cost-effectiveness analysis of new anesthetic regimens must balance the direct cost of anesthetics and beneficial effects leading to improved patients' comfort. IMPLICATIONS In today's climate of cost-consciousness, careful economic evaluation of new anesthetic regimens is necessary. A target-controlled infusion (TCI)-based total IV anesthesia (TIVA) regimen using propofol and remifentanil was compared with a standard propofol anesthesia regimen and an inhaled anesthetic technique using isoflurane. Target-controlled infusion/total IV anesthesia was associated with the largest intraoperative costs but allowed the most rapid recovery from anesthesia, was associated with fewest postoperative side effects, and permitted earlier discharge from the postanesthesia care unit.