The successful application of laparoscopic surgery to gallbladder disease and acute appendicitis has encouraged clinical investigators to develop this technology further in an attempt to manage other pathologic disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. After gaining experience with various laparoscopic skills while performing clinical biliary tract surgery, appendectomy and then in a controlled animal laboratory, a pilot program for laparoscopic colonic surgery was initiated. Twenty patients with ages ranging from 43 to 88 years (mean age of 57 years) underwent laparoscope-assisted colon resection. In nine patients, a right hemicolectomy was performed and a sigmoid colectomy in eight. A low anterior resection, Hartman's procedure, and abdominal perineal resection were each performed in one patient. Indications for surgery were large villous adenomas or adenocarcinoma in 12, diverticular disease in 5, sigmoid endometrioma in 1, cecal volvulus in 1, and inflammatory bowel disease in 1. Eighty percent of patients were able to tolerate a liquid diet on the first postoperative day and 70% were discharged within 96 h eating a regular diet and having normal bowel movements. There were three operative complications: a 3 unit postoperative bleed managed without surgery, one patient developed marked edema of the rectosigmoid anastomosis requiring decompression with a rectal tube, and one individual with metastatic colon cancer was operated on for a mechanical small bowel obstruction 7 days after the initial laparoscopic surgery. Although laparoscope-assisted colonic surgery may still be considered a procedure in evolution, we feel that in time it has the potential to be as popular as laparoscopic cholecystectomy.