PURPOSE Injury to the diaphragm is an uncommon yet recognized complication of several laparoscopic procedures, including laparoscopic renal surgery. As these procedures increase in popularity and use, laparoscopic surgeons should be aware of techniques for avoiding this complication as well as methods of identifying pleural injury and managing it appropriately. We report our experience with the detection and intraoperative management of pleural injury sustained during laparoscopic renal surgery and its subsequent treatment. MATERIALS AND METHODS From July 1993 to April 2001 at 4 institutions 1,765 patients underwent laparoscopic renal surgery for benign and malignant disease as well as for live renal donation. We retrospectively reviewed the charts and interviewed the primary surgeons to determine the etiology of pleural injury, intraoperative detection and management, and possible future prevention. RESULTS Pleural injury occurred in 10 cases (0.6%). In 2 cases injury involved inadvertent trocar placement through the pleural cavity. These cases were managed by intraoperative chest tube placement. In 8 cases the diaphragm was injured in iatrogenic fashion during kidney dissection, including during splenic mobilization in 2, liver mobilization in 2, ascending colon mobilization in 1, dissection of the upper renal pole in 2 and dissection of a large renal cyst off of the diaphragm in 1. In all patients injury was detected intraoperatively and repaired via laparoscopy. In 1 patient residual pneumothorax postoperatively necessitated tube thoracostomy. CONCLUSIONS Pleural injury sustained during laparoscopic surgery is an uncommon but potentially serious complication of laparoscopic renal procedures. The experienced laparoscopic surgeon can identify and repair the injury intraoperatively, minimizing patient morbidity postoperatively.