PURPOSE: The safety and the feasibility of performing laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer after preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) have not yet been established. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and the safety of laparoscopic rectal cancer surgery performed after preoperative CRT. METHODS: We enrolled 124 consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer. Of these patients, 56 received preoperative CRT (CRT group), whereas 68 did not (non-CRT group). The patients who were found to have distant metastasis and open conversion during surgery were excluded. The clinicopathologic parameters were evaluated and the short-term outcomes were compared between the CRT and non-CRT groups. RESULTS: The mean operation time was longer in the CRT group (294 minutes; range, 140 to 485 minutes; P = 0.004). In the non-CRT group, the tumor sizes were larger (mean, 4.0 cm; range, 1.2 to 8.0 cm; P < 0.001) and more lymph nodes were harvested (mean, 12.9; range, 0 to 35; P < 0.001). However, there was no significant difference between the two groups in time to first bowel movement, tolerance of a soft diet, length of hospital stay, and postoperative complication rate. CONCLUSION: Performing laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer after preoperative CRT may be safe and feasible if performed by a highly skilled laparoscopic surgeon. Randomized controlled trials and long-term follow-up studies are necessary to support our results.