Obese patients carry a higher risk of wound complications and cardiopulmonary complications along with a higher incidence of comorbidity, all of which have the potential to affect outcome after a variety of surgical procedures. The data regarding outcomes after laparoscopic colectomy in obese and nonobese patients are limited. The purpose of this report was to compare the outcome of laparoscopic bowel resection in obese and nonobese patients. All patients prospectively entered into a laparoscopic bowel resection database from March 1999 to December 2001, who underwent a segmental colectomy for any pathologic condition, were analyzed. Patients with a body mass index above 30 were defined as obese, and patients with a body mass index below 30 were defined as nonobese. Data collected included age, sex, duration of operation, body mass index, American Society of Anesthesiologists score, operative procedure diagnosis, complications relating to length of hospital stay, mortality, and readmission within 30 days of discharge. Statistical analysis consisted of Student’s t test and chi-square analysis where appropriate, with significance set at P < 0.05. A total of 260 patients were evaluated (201 [77.3%] in the nonobese group and 59 [22.7%] in the obese group). There were no significant differences between the two groups with respect to age, sex, operative procedure, length of hospital stay, or readmission rates. The obese group had significantly more conversions to an open procedure (23.7% vs. 10.9%), a longer operative duration (109 minutes vs. 94 minutes), a higher morbidity rate (22% vs. 13%) and a higher anastomotic leakage rate (5.1% vs. 1.2%). This large experience with laparoscopic colectomy for a variety of conditions demonstrates that despite higher conversion rates, an increased risk of pulmonary complications, and anastomotic leakage rates in obese laparoscopic patients that parallel those of open surgery, laparoscopic colectomy can be performed safely in both obese and nonobese patients with the similar benefit of a shorter hospital stay in both groups.