Laparoscopic (lap) pancreatic surgery has been increasingly reported since its introduction in 1992. A retrospective analysis of consecutive patients undergoing elective lap and open distal pancreatectomy from 2002 to 2007 was performed. Univariate analysis was completed to evaluate perioperative variables. Logistic regression analysis was used to model predictors of postoperative pancreatic fistula. One hundred forty-eight subjects underwent distal pancreatectomy; 98 completed open, 44 lap, and six converted to open. There was no significant difference in the incidence of postoperative morbidity or mortality between the surgical approaches. Decreased operative time (156 vs 200 minutes, P < 0.01), blood loss (157 vs 719 mL, P < 0.01), and length of stay (5.9 vs 8.6 days, P < 0.01) were seen in the lap group. There was no significant difference in the rate of all pancreatic fistula formation (50 vs 46%, P = 0.94) or clinically significant leaks (18 vs 19%, P = 0.97) between techniques. A preoperative biopsy-proven cancer, increasing body mass index, history of pancreatitis, and male gender were significant predictors of having a pancreatic fistula. Lap and open distal pancreatectomy are performed safely at high-volume pancreatic surgery centers. This report provides ongoing support of the feasibility and safety of the lap approach with improved perioperative outcomes and equivalent pancreatic fistula rate.