Laparoscopic surgery has revolutionized the delivery of care to the surgical patient undergoing colorectal resection. Since the first laparoscopic-assisted colectomy in 1991, significant advances have been made in minimally invasive colorectal surgery. For many benign conditions, laparoscopic colectomy has been proven to be safe and effective, and in some instances superior when compared with open surgery. Complex laparoscopic resections such as those for diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease have also been shown to have equivalent outcomes when compared with open surgery. Short-term benefits of a minimally invasive approach include less pain, decreased rates of wound infection and postoperative morbidity, faster return of bowel function, and shorter length of stay. Improvements in long-term complications have also been noted with lower incidence of incisional hernias and small bowel obstructions secondary to adhesions. As surgeons become more facile with laparoscopic resection, more complex cases such as those for complicated diverticulitis and reoperative surgery for inflammatory bowel disease can be completed with shorter operative times and decreased cost.