Laparoscopic surgery, whose development has been so impressive in the last decade, was initially introduced at the beginning of this century hy Dimitri Ott, Georg Kelling and Hans Christian Jacobeus. Von Ott inspected the abdominal cavity of a pregnant woman in 1901 and afterwards Georg Kelling performed a procedure, called "koelioscopie", closer to the definition of modern laparoscopy. In the same year Jacobeus published his first report of what he called "Laparothorakoskopie". In the following years several authors in Europe and in the United States performed laparoscopic procedures for diagnostic purposes. It was only with the introduction of the rod-lens optical system and of the cold light fiber-glass illumination that laparoscopy became more popular especially in the gynecologist departments. At this time laparoscopy in general surgery was mainly performed for the diagnosis of liver disorders and abdominal trauma, until the intuition of Lukichev in 1983 and Muhe in 1985 who performed their personal technique of laparoscopic cholecystectomy in humans. Their rudimental techniques did not receive the attention they probably deserved and increasing interest in laparoscopy among general surgeons developed only after the French gynecologist Mouret performed in 1987 the first acknowledged laparoscopic cholecystectomy by means of four trocars. Operative laparoscopy has advanced surprisingly in the last ten years. Several operative procedures have been performed by this new approach. After its tumultuous debut, laparoscopic surgery is now entering a phase of slower development and nowadays it is impossible to predict the immediate and long-term evolution of the technique.