This study was performed to compare the standard open Swenson pull-through (OSP) with the laparoscopic Swenson pull-through (LSP) for Hirschsprung's disease. The Swenson pull-through was performed on eight patients with a rectosigmoid transition zone, during a 14-month period, using one camera port and three working ports. The results were compared with those of 10 patients with a similar lesion treated by the open procedure during an overlapping 19-month period. One laparoscopic procedure was converted to the open version because of technical difficulties. Both methods had a hand-sewn anastomosis approximately 1 cm above the pectinate line. The preoperative variables of age, weight, incidence of colostomy, and incidence of Down's syndrome were similar for the two groups. The operating time for LSP was similar to that for OSP (4 hours 42 minutes v 4 hours 37 minutes, respectively: P = NS). Postoperatively, the laparoscopic group had a shorter hospital stay (5.25 v 8.8 days; P < .05) and had a shorter period until the start of oral intake (2.75 v 5 days; P < .05). The requirement for narcotic pain medication was similar (12.6 v 12.8 doses; P = NS). Early postoperative complications were more common in the open group (3 wound infections, 1 prolonged ileus, and 1 anastomotic leak). No complications occurred in the laparoscopic group. Late postoperative follow-up was too short to compare functional results. The authors conclude that the Swenson pull-through can be performed safely with the laparoscope, with reduced morbidity.