Postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) affects a substantial number of aged individuals. Although advanced age has been regarded as the only independent risk factor for cognitive decline following anesthesia and surgery, the exact cellular and molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. Histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3), an epigenetic regulator of memory plays an important role in age-dependent disease. In this study, we investigated the role of HDAC3 in POCD using a laparotomy mouse model. The results showed that the level of HDAC3 in the dorsal hippocampus (DH) was elevated in aged mice compared with young mice. The surgery impaired the spatial-temporal memory in aged mice, as indicated in the object location memory (OLM) and temporal order memory (TOM) tests. Model mice also exhibited increased expression of HDAC3 protein and decreased levels of dendritic spine density and synaptic plasticity-related proteins in the DH. Selectively blocking HDAC3 in the DH of aged mice reversed spatial-temporal memory impairment induced by surgery and restored dendritic spine density and synaptic plasticity-related proteins in the DH. Overexpression of HDAC3 by adeno-associated virus in the DH of young mice mimicked the behavioral deficits induced by anesthesia and surgery. Our results indicated that HDAC3 negatively regulates spatial-temporal memory in aged mice after anesthesia and surgery. Targeting HDAC3 might represent a potential therapy to avoid POCD.