Laparoscopic hernia operations have been criticized in regard to their high hospital costs. This study was designed to compare the costs and some outcome features of totally extraperitoneal endoscopic hernia operation (TEP) and Lichtenstein mesh repair (OPN) among 45 randomized employed patients. The medians of operative time in the TEP and OPN groups were 67.5 and 53 min, respectively. Return to normal life was 14 days in the TEP group and 20 days in the OPN group. The hospital costs per patient were $1,239 (all costs are in US dollars) in the TEP group and $782 in the OPN group. The median total costs were $3,912 and $4,661 in the TEP and OPN groups, respectively. The Lichtenstein operation is cheaper for the hospital. The total costs for working patients are lower with the endoscopic technique because fewer working days are lost.