Laparoscopic surgery is commonly used for colorectal diseases. Recently, laparoscopy for colorectal carcinoma has increased in use, especially by colorectal surgeons. Laparoscopy is associated with potential pitfalls that pose challenges to the surgeon and team. The identification and management of these pitfalls may not directly parallel those during an open approach. As such, it is essential for the surgeon to have a good working knowledge of how to avoid potential problems and how to best manage them when they do occur. This review highlights common pitfalls of laparoscopic colorectal surgery, as well as offering practical approaches to their management. Technical, patient and surgeon factors are all discussed.