Over the past three decades, rates of overweight and obesity internationally have risen to epidemic proportions. There are currently no published prospective studies examining the effect of obesity on gynaecologic laparoscopy for benign indications within a population with obesity rates comparable to Australian women.

To assess and quantify whether increasing patient body mass index negatively impacted upon the ability to successfully complete planned laparoscopic surgery.

From January 2009 until October 2012, 307 women undergoing laparoscopic gynaecological surgery for benign pathology were recruited. Intra‐operative variables included the following: ease of identification of anatomical landmarks, entry technique and number of attempts, conversion to laparotomy and any complications encountered. Any post‐operative complications were recorded at the six week post‐operative review.

94.46% of operations were completed as planned. As BMI increased, the ease of identification of important anatomical landmarks significantly decreased. There was no correlation between increasing BMI and surgical complication rates.

Planned gynaecological laparoscopy can be performed in obese patients with a high likelihood of completion. In this study, obesity was not associated with a significant increase in complication rates or failure to complete the surgery as planned.