Our primary objective was to assess the feasibility of geriatric patients (>65 yr) bypassing the postanesthesia care unit (PACU) after ambulatory surgery. A secondary objective was to compare recovery profiles when using three different maintenance anesthetics. Ninety ASA physical status I-III consenting outpatients (>65 yr) undergoing short urologic procedures were randomly assigned to one of three anesthetic treatment groups. After a standardized induction with fentanyl and propofol, anesthesia was maintained with propofol (75-150 μg · kg-1 · min-1 IV), isoflurane (0.7%-1.2% end tidal), or desflurane (3%-6% end tidal), in combination with nitrous oxide 70% in oxygen. In all three groups, the primary anesthetic was titrated to maintain an electroencephalographic-bispectral index value of 60-65. Recovery times, postanesthesia recovery scores, and therapeutic interventions in the PACU were recorded. Although emergence times were similar in the three groups, the time to achieve a fast-track discharge score of 14 was significantly shorter in patients receiving desflurane compared with propofol and isoflurane (22 ± 23 vs 33 ± 25 and 44 ± 36 min, respectively). On arrival in the PACU, a significantly larger percentage of patients receiving desflurane were judged to be fast-track eligible compared with those receiving either isoflurane and propofol (73% vs 43% and 44%, respectively). The number of therapeutic interventions in the PACU was also significantly larger in the Isoflurane group when compared with the Propofol and Desflurane groups (21 vs 11 and 7, respectively). In conclusion, use of desflurane for maintenance of anesthesia should facilitate PACU bypass ("fast-tracking") of geriatric patients undergoing short urologic procedures.