PURPOSE: Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has some limitations such as poor sonic window and injury to adjacent organs. The laparoscopic approach has been suggested as an alternative option. The aim of this study was to show the safety and efficacy of laparoscopic RFA for single, small (≤3 cm), and primary or recurrent HCC that is not suitable for percutaneous RFA or surgical resection. METHODS: We reviewed the cases of 37 patients (32 men and 5 women, mean age 61 ± 8.1 years) who underwent laparoscopic RFA for single, small HCC (≤3 cm) that was unsuitable for percutaneous RFA or surgical resection. RESULTS: The technical success rate was 94.6% and 34 patients (95%) had no complications. There were no conversions to open RFA and no operative mortality. The primary effectiveness rate 1 month after the procedure was 100%. The overall recurrence rates at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after the laparoscopic RFA were 8.1%, 14.4%, 25%, and 35.7%, respectively. The local tumor progression rate was 4.2% at 6 months and 8.7% at 9 months. CONCLUSION: Laparoscopic RFA is a safe and effective treatment for HCC cases that are unsuitable for percutaneous RFA.