To determine the feasibility and efficacy of a laparoscopic approach to the radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP). A transperitoneal laparoscopic technique was developed to perform an RRP. Intra-abdominal access was obtained through five 10-mm trocars. After dissection of the prostate, the urethrovesical anastomosis was created via a transvesical approach. The prostate was removed by extending the umbilical incision. Between September 1991 and May 1995, nine laparoscopic RRPs were performed. The operative time averaged 9.4 hours. Only 1 of 9 patients had a positive surgical margin that involved the urethra. Six of 9 patients were completely continent postoperatively. Of the 4 patients who were potent preoperatively, 2 continued to have erections. There were three complications: cholecystitis, thrombophlebitis associated with a pulmonary embolism, and a small bowel hernia into a trocar site. Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is feasible but currently offers no advantage over open surgery with regard to tumor removal, continence, potency, length of stay, convalescence, and cosmetic result.