PURPOSE: Laparoscopic appendectomy has many benefits compared to the open technique, such as easy localization of the appendix, less scarring for cosmetic reasons and less reported wound infection. However, for patients with complicated appendicitis, controversy exists as to whether laparoscopic appendectomy is a safe procedure. Some recent studies have reported no significant difference of the complication rate compared to that of the open procedure, suggesting that laparoscopic appendectomy could be used as an alternative procedure. This study was performed to evaluate the safety and benefits of laparoscopic appendectomy as compared to that of the open technique for treating complicated and uncomplicated appendicitis. METHODS: We studied the patients who underwent appendectomy by either the laparoscopic or open technique at Bundang Jaesaeang General Hospital between January 2005 and September 2008. Of the total 2,226 patients, there were 168 patients in the laparoscopic appendectomy (LA) group and 2,058 patients in the open appendectomy (OA) group. We compared the patient demographic data and perioperative outcomes of the two groups. RESULTS: Both patient groups were comparable in terms of age. The mean operative time was 91.8 minutes in the LA group and 47.2 minutes in the OA group (p<0.00). There were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of the mean hospital stay. The noncomplicated appendicitis LA group showed a quicker time to start an oral diet (p=0.03) & wound infection (p=0.032). For complicated appendicitis, there were no differences of wound infection & intestinal obstruction between the two groups. CONCLUSION: Although laparoscopic appendectomies requires a longer operation time, it did not lengthen the hospital stay nor delay the start of a soft oral diet. Appendiceal abscess in complicated appendicitis did not occur in the laparoscopic or open appendectomy groups. Therefore, laparoscopic appendectomy is a safe procedure for both complicated and uncomplicated appendicitis. To reach a final consensus on the scope of this study, a prospective randomized controlled study is needed in the near future.