Laparoscopy was used to evaluate 60 patients with a variety of known or suspected gynecologic neoplasms. Diagnostic laparoscopy was performed on 18 patients to confirm benign or malignant pelvic masses or to confirm peritoneal carcinomatosis. Ten of these 18 patients (56%) were found to have unresectable carcinomatosis or benign disease which did not require further surgery. Staging laparoscopy was performed on 13 patients of which 3 had clinically unsuspected intraperitoneal spread of their disease. Surveillance laparoscopy was performed on 29 patients to determine the remission, regression, or progression of their disease following treatment; 8 (27%) had progressive or unresectable persistent disease. Despite the fact that the study comprised a high-risk group of previously operated on or irradiated patients, there was only one major complication. There was, however, a 10% incidence of laparoscopic failure from inadequate visualization. Twenty-one of the study patients (35%) were spared a laparotomy by the use of laparoscopy. The findings of this investigation help to identify those gynecologic oncology patients who should benefit most from the use of laparoscopy as an adjunct to the diagnosis, staging, or surveillance of intraabdominal malignant tumors.