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The aim of this study was to compare surgical and oncologic outcomes of open and laparoscopic surgery in patients with borderline ovarian tumors (BOTs).This study included patients with BOTs who underwent open (n = 433) or laparoscopic (n = 210) surgery between 1990 and 2015. Surgical outcomes, perioperative morbidity, and disease-free survival and overall survival were compared.There was no significant difference in age, histologic type of tumor, and laterality of tumor. However, body mass index was slightly higher for the open surgery group (P = 0.046). The open surgery group had a higher serum cancer antigen 125 level (P < 0.001), larger tumor size (P < 0.001), more frequent radical surgery (P = 0.001), higher stage (P = 0.034), and higher incidence of invasive implants (P = 0.035). The operative time (P < 0.001), time interval to return of bowel movement (P < 0.001), and length of postoperative hospital stay (P < 0.001) were significantly shorter and estimated blood loss was significantly less (P < 0.001) in the laparoscopic group. Perioperative complications were documented in 5 (2.4%) patients in the laparoscopic surgery group and 17 (3.9%) in the open surgery group (P = 0.064). Twenty-three (5.3%) patients in the open surgery group and 9 (4.3%) in the laparoscopic surgery group had recurrence (P = 0.902) at a median follow-up of 57 months. The 10-year disease-free survival was 96% and 97% for the open and laparoscopic groups, respectively (P = 0.851), with no significant difference between the groups after adjusting for independent factors (odds ratio, 1.0; 95% confidence interval, 0.4–2.4; P = 0.999). The 10-year overall survival was 99% for both groups, respectively (P = 0.441).Laparoscopic surgery and open surgery showed similar survival outcomes in BOTs. The surgical outcomes of laparoscopic surgery were more favorable.