This prospective study was done to identify the incidence of asymptomatic hernias diagnosed during laparoscopic surgery. Previously unidentified inguinal hernias were discovered in 13 of 100 consecutive patients undergoing laparoscopic procedures (13%). Nine of the patients were male, four were female. The average age was 43.3 years. Four defects were direct and nine were indirect (patent processus vaginalis). Eleven defects were small (<3 cm) but two were large (>3 cm). All four direct defects occurred in male patients. We conclude that asymptomatic defects are surprisingly common in our surgical population (13%) and that laparoscopic examination of the pelvis is a sensitive technique for identifying these defects. To date, no patient with laparoscopically diagnosed hernia has had symptoms or complications related to the hernia. We recommend that the surgeon should note in the medical record the presence of a defect, but not proceed with prophylactic repair of asymptomatic defects.