PURPOSE: Laparoscopic surgery of the abdomen has grown rapidly in popularity due to the benefits, including a low level of post operative pain, early recovery, short hospitalization and excellent cosmetic results. Concerning tumor resection, most benign gastric tumors are ideal for the use of the non invasive method of a laparoscopic procedure. To evaluate the feasibility of laparoscopic surgery for benign gastric tumors, we analysed the clinicopathological findings, post operative course and prognosis. METHODS: Between January 1995 and August 2001, laparoscopic surgery was performed on 18 patients with benign gastric tumors at the Department of Surgery at Yonsei University Hospital. To evaluate the feasibility of laparoscopic surgery for these lesions, the sex, age, pathologic diagnosis, operative methods, tumor location, tumor size, operative time, recurrence, gas passing time and diet recovery time were analyzed. RESULTS: The patients group consisted of 3 men (16.7%) and 15 women (83.3%), with a mean age of 51.9+/-15.0 years (range, 23~80). The histopathological examinations showed 12 mesenchymal tumors (5 leiomyomas, 4 stromal tumors, 3 Schwannomas), 2 mucosa origin tumors (1 retention polyp, 1 villous adenoma), 2 ectopic pancreata, 1 carcinoid tumor and 1 lipoma. The operation methods were 14 laparoscopic wedge resections of stomach, 1 laparoscopic assisted partial gastrectomy and 1 gastrotomy and polypectomy. In 2 patients, a laparotomy was required following the laparoscopy due to difficulties in detecting the tumors. In one of the 2 converted cases, preoperative endoscopic marking of the tumor site was performed, but the dye was spread very widely from the mid body to the prepylorus. The other tumor was located on the lesser curvature of the upper third, around the esophagogastric junction, but it was not exactly identified. The tumors were located in the upper, middle, and lower third of the stomach in 7, 9 and 2 cases, respectively. As a circumferential location, 7 tumors were mainly situated on the anterior wall, 6 on the posterior wall, 3 on the greater curvature and 2 on the lesser curvature. All tumors, even those on the lesser curvature and posterior wall, were able to be resected with laparoscopy. The size of the resected tumors averaged 2.2+/-0.9 cm (range, 0.8~4.3). The resection margins were all negative. The operation time averaged 145.8+/-57.0 min (range 70~280). The time to passing gas averaged 2.2+/-0.9 days (range 1~4). The recovery time to a soft diet averaged 5.9+/-1.9 days (range, 2~9). The postoperative course of all the patients was uneventful, and there were no postoperative complications with the exception of one case of diet intolerance. During the follow up there have been no recurrences to date. CONCLUSION: With its proper application in benign gastric tumors, laparoscopic surgery needs to identify the exact site of a tumor, can contribute significantly to an improved patient outcome because it is less complicated and safer compared to conventional gastrectomy methods.