Remifentanil is widely used for intraoperative analgesia, but often causes remifentanil-induced hyperalgesia (RIH) and related side effects. Dexmedetomidine, a non-opioid analgesic, has been used as an alternative to remifentanil to prevent RIH. We aimed to investigate the effect of dexmedetomidine on postoperative recovery after gynecological laparoscopy. Ninety-six adult patients undergoing elective gynecological laparoscopy were randomly assigned to the dexmedetomidine or remifentanil groups. The primary outcome was the pain score at 30 min after surgery. The secondary outcomes were intraoperative adverse events (hypotension and bradycardia) and postoperative opioid-related side effects (nausea, vomiting, requirement for rescue analgesics, and shivering). We also performed an ancillary cytokine study to evaluate oxidative stress, one of the causes of RIH. Compared with the remifentanil group, the dexmedetomidine group had lower pain scores at 30 min after surgery (4.0 ± 1.9 vs. 6.1 ± 2.0, mean ± SD, < 0.001) and lower incidence of intraoperative hypotension and postoperative nausea, vomiting, and shivering. Furthermore, the proportion of patients requiring rescue analgesics was significantly lower in the dexmedetomidine than in the remifentanil group (25% vs. 66.7%, < 0.001). Cytokine levels did not differ between the groups. Dexmedetomidine showed a better analgesic effect with minimal opioid-related side effects and is considered superior to remifentanil for intraoperative analgesia.