The development of laparoscopic cholecystectomy has created a dilemma in the management of choledocholithiasis. A number of options exist, including endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) before laparoscopic cholecystectomy in patients with suspected common bile duct (CBD) calculi, laparoscopic bile duct exploration, open CBD exploration and postoperative ES. None of these options has emerged as ideal or universally acceptable. An alternative technique, peroperative ES, has been developed. A prospective assessment of the use of peroperative ES in 13 patients in whom choledocholithiasis was demonstrated with operative cholangiography is presented. Eleven patients had successful ES and clearance of stones. The CBD could not be cannulated in one patient, and an adequate ES for stone extraction could not be performed in the remaining patient. Both procedures were converted to open CBD exploration. Complications were mild postoperative pancreatitis (two patients) and pulmonary atelectasis (one). The median total operating time was 165 min and the median postoperative hospital stay was 3 days. Peroperative ES at the time of laparoscopic cholecystectomy provides a safe technique for clearance of the CBD.