OBJECTIVE: The lateral supraorbital (LSO) approach is a modified method of the classic pterional approach and it has advantages of short skin incision and small craniotomy compared with the pterional approach. This study was designed to compare the two approaches in the surgical treatment of unruptured intracranial aneurysms. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 122 patients with 137 unruptured intracranial aneurysms treated by clipping, from July 2009 to April 2011. Between August 2010 and April 2011, 61 patients were treated by clipping via the lateral supraorbital approach and the same number of patients treated by clipping via the pterional approach were retrospectively enrolled. We analyzed the two groups and compared demographic, radiologic and clinical variables. RESULTS: The mean age of patients in the two groups was 54.6 years (LSO group) and 55.7 years (Pterion group). The mean duration of hospitalization was shorter in the LSO group than in the Pterion group (7.9 days vs. 9.0 days, p=0.125) and the mean operation time was also significantly shorter in the LSO group (117.1 minutes vs. 164.3 minutes, p<0.001). Furthermore, the mean craniotomy area was much smaller in the LSO group (1275.4 mm2 vs. 2858.9 mm2, p<0.001). The two groups showed similar distributions of aneurysm location and postoperative complications. CONCLUSION: The lateral supraorbital approach for the clipping of unruptured intracranial aneurysm could be a good alternative to the classic pterional approach.