Two hundred and fifty-two women scheduled to undergo laparoscopy were randomly assigned to a Verres needle or direct insertion group. The groups were similar with respect to incidence of obesity, prior surgical treatment, indication for operation and level of training of the surgeon performing the procedure. There were no major complications associated with either technique. Minor complications (preperitoneal insufflation, failed entry or more than three attempts necessary to enter the peritoneal cavity with the trocar) were significantly more frequent (p < 0.05) in the Verres needle technique group. One hundred and thirteen of these patients underwent sterilization procedures. The mean times for performance of the laparoscopic procedure using the direct insertion and Verres needle techniques was 15.3 and 19.6 minutes, respectively. The time saved using the direct insertion technique is explained by a significant (p < 0.01) reduction in the mean laparoscope insertion time, which was 2.2 minutes and 5.9 minutes for the direct insertion and Verres needle techniques, respectively. We prefer the direct insertion technique for trocar placement because it has fewer minor complications and requires less operating time.