PURPOSE: We evaluated the validity of laparoscopy-assisted distal gastrectomy (LADG) with systemic lymphadenectomy for early gastric cancer in elderly patients compared with younger patients. METHODS: Seventeen elderly patients (aged 70 years or more) and 113 younger patients who underwent LADG for early gastric cancer between May 1998 and July 2004, at the department of Surgery, Dong-A University Medical Center, were studied. Postoperative outcomes were compared. RESULTS: In elderly patients, co-morbidity was more common than in younger ones (P=0.0220) and postoperative complication rate was more common, too (P=0.0480). Operation time (P=0.7301), time to first flatus (P=0.4766), postoperative hospital stay (P=0.4860), mortality (P=0.2453), were similar in these two groups. CONCLUSION: Because LADG with systemic lymphadenectomy in elderly patients has more co-morbidity and complications than younger ones, great cares should be given to treat co-morbidity preoperatively and prevent complications during operation and postoperative period in elderly patients.