In 1970 when the Outpatient Surgery Unit at the Mason Clinic opened, the question was could certain minor surgical procedures requiring anesthesia be performed on an outpatient basis without sacrificing safety or quality. Experience has demonstrated that the question now is not can, but how must the service be furnished. Modification of routine general anesthetic techniques by eliminating premedicant drugs, use of short-acting and intravenous induction agents and short-acting gaseous anesthetics (primarily halothane) have proved safe and effective. Likewise, short-acting local anesthetic drugs, gently and skillfully administered, have made regional nerve block a technique preferable in at least 50% of the patients. The concern that patient physical status, duration of surgery, or inability to monitor postsurgical complications would limit the usefulness of outpatient surgery have proven groundless. With proper anesthetic management any surgical procedure which would not require hospitalization for postoperative observation can be done on an outpatient basis.