Major vessel injuries during laparoscopy most commonly occur during insertion of Veress needle and port trocars through the abdominal wall. This article reviews methods for avoiding major vessel injury while gaining laparoscopic access, including anatomic relationships of abdominal wall landmarks to the major retroperitoneal vessels. Methods for periumbilical placement of the Veress needle and primary trocar are reviewed in terms of direction and angle of insertion, and alternative methods and locations are discussed. Methods for secondary port placement are reviewed in terms of direction, depth, and speed of placement. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.