Laparoscopic common bile duct exploration (LCBDE) has become one of the main options for treating choledocholithiasis associated with cholelithiasis. Our objective was to assess the short-term outcomes of patients undergoing laparoscopic primary closure of the common bile duct (CBD) compared with laparoscopic choledochotomy plus T-tube drainage. We retrospectively studied 137 patients undergoing primary closure following LCBDE (group A) compared with 102 cases with laparoscopic choledochotomy plus T-tube drainage (group B) between January 2007 and January 2010. Intraoperative cholangiography (IOC) and choledochoscopy were performed in all patients. Three patients in group A (2.2%) were converted to open surgery and two (2.0%) in group B because of serious adherence. According to routine IOC, unexpected CBD stones were found in 16 cases (6.8%). The duration of the operation in group A was shorter than in group B (92.4 ± 15.2 vs. 125.7± 32.6 min, P < 0.05), as was length of postoperative stay (3.1± 2.4 vs. 5.7± 4.3 days, P < 0.05). Postoperative bile leakage occurred in six patients (4.5%) in group A and four cases (4.0%) in group B; all of the patients recovered after simple drainage without reoperation. Bile peritonitis was seen in one case after T-tube removal. The median follow-up was 26 months. There were no recurrences. Laparoscopic primary closure of the CBD is safe and successful for the management of CBD stones. Application of IOC and choledochoscopy to ensure clearance of the CBD and careful suturing are essential for primary closure.