This study investigates the influence of multileaf collimator (MLC) leaf width on intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plans delivered via the segmented multileaf collimator (SMLC) technique. IMRT plans were calculated using the Corvus treatment planning system for three brain, three prostate, and three pancreas cases using leaf widths of 0.5 and 1 cm. Resulting differences in plan quality and complexity are presented here. Plans calculated using a 1 cm leaf width were chosen over the 0.5 cm leaf width plans in seven out of nine cases based on clinical judgment. Conversely, optimization results revealed a superior objective function result for the 0.5 cm leaf width plans in seven out of the nine comparisons. The 1 cm leaf width objective function result was superior only for very large target volumes, indicating that expanding the solution space for plan optimization by using narrower leaves may result in a decreased probability of finding the global minimum. In the remaining cases, we can conclude that we are often not utilizing the objective function as proficiently as possible to meet our clinical goals. There was often no apparent clinically significant difference between the two plans, and in such cases the issue becomes one of plan complexity. A comparison of plan complexity revealed that the average 1 cm leaf width plan required roughly 60% fewer segments and over 40% fewer monitor units than required by 0.5 cm leaf width plans. This allows a significant decrease in whole body dose and total treatment time. For very complex IMRT plans, the treatment delivery time may affect the biologically effective dose. A clinically significant improvement in plan quality from using narrower leaves was evident only in cases with very small target volumes or those with concavities that are small with respect to the MLC leaf width. For the remaining cases investigated in this study, there was no clinical advantage to reducing the MLC leaf width from 1 to 0.5 cm. In such cases, there is no justification for the increased treatment time and whole body dose associated with the narrower MLC leaf width.