The introduction of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) has been associated with an increase in the incidence of operative bile duct injuries. An operative technique that involves commencing the laparoscopic dissection on the body of the gallbladder and dissecting toward the cystic duct has been developed that minimizes the risk of major duct injury. The aim of this study was to assess prospectivel the safety of this dissection technique. A group of 410 patients underwent LC for symptomatic cholelithiasis from January 1991 to December 1992. There was a single common hepatic duct injury: a small (1 mm) side hole in a patient with acute cholecystitis and choledocholithiasis. It was managed at open operation with exploration of the common bile duct and insertion of a T-tube. There were no partial or complete common bile duct transections in this series. We concluded that the technique of commencing the dissection on the gallbladder is safe and minimizes the risk of serious common bile duct injury at LC.