Purpose: Laparoscopy-assisted distal gastrectomy (LADG) has recently been accepted as a feasible and acceptable method for early gastric cancer surgery. Surgeons have long suspected that obesity might increase the intra-operative or postoperative complications. We set out to clarify the effects of obesity on LADG for early gastric cancer treatment. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 97 patients who had undergone LADG for early gastric cancer between May 1998 and March 2003. The degree of obesity was based on the Body Mass Index (BMI, kg/m2), with patients assigned to two groups: normal BMI (BMI <23 kg/m2) and high BMI (BMI= 23 kg/m2). RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the normal and high BMI groups in terms of patients' characteristics, surgical outcomes and postoperative courses, postoperative complication and operation time. However, there was a significant statistical difference in the operation time among the latter four groups (P=0.004). And the male with high BMI group took particularly a longer operation time than female groups with normal BMI (P=0.006) and high BMI (P=0.013). Conclusion: In LADG patients with early gastric cancer, obesity may affect the operation time, and the male high BMI group takes particularly a longer operation time than the female groups.