The purpose of this study was to assess the operating time of the most common gynaecological laparoscopic procedures. We analysed retrospectively 1000 consecutive operative laparoscopies on a procedure-by-procedure basis. Diagnostic laparoscopy and laparoscopic sterilization were specifically excluded from the analysis. The various laparoscopic procedures were grouped and analysed under six major categories. The average operating time for all cases was 76.9 min (range 10-400). In 38 cases (3.8%) the laparoscopic procedure was converted to laparotomy. The average operating time for treating ectopic pregnancy and tubal disease was approximately 60 min (range 13-240). Surgery for endometriosis and ovarian cysts averaged 72 min (range 10-240). Laparoscopic myomectomy and hysterectomy averaged 113 and 131 min respectively (range 25-400). Our results show that while the operating time for most operative laparoscopies is less than 75 min, the range of operating times is great. The relative lack of predictability in procedure times means that the efficient utilization of fixed theatre sessions is difficult.