© 2018, The Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. Cirrhotic liver disease is an important cause of peri-operative morbidity and mortality in general surgical patients. Early recognition and optimization of liver dysfunction is imperative before any elective surgery. Patients with MELD <12 or classified as Child A have a higher morbidity and mortality than matched controls without liver dysfunction, but are generally safe for elective procedures with appropriate patient education. Patients with MELD >20 or classified as Child C should undergo transplantation before any elective procedure given mortality exceeds 40%. Laparoscopic procedures are feasible and safe in cirrhotic patients.