An important advantage of open laparoscopy over closed techniques is the avoidance of placing a sharp trocar blindly into the peritoneal cavity. Although an open technique theoretically minimizes the risk of major retroperitoneal vessel injury and bowel injury, most laparoscopies are performed using a closed technique. In an effort to simplify open laparoscopy, a technique was developed that can be done without special equipment or sutures and nearly as quickly as a closed technique. To compare the effectiveness of this open laparoscopic technique to a closed technique, a prospective, observational, cohort study was carried out on 66 women undergoing laparoscopy for either infertility or pelvic pain. The open technique was performed on 35 consecutive patients and compared to a closed technique performed on 31 patients on a different service during the same period. Evaluation included total duration of the procedure, length of the incision, incidence of CO 2 leakage and complications. The open technique took slightly longer, and the incision was slightly longer. CO 2 leakage occurred in 5 of 35 of the open cases but in none of the 31 closed cases. Leakage was controlled effectively in every case by application of a towel clip to the skin incision. No complications occurred with either technique. This study suggested that an open technique that requires no special equipment or sutures may be a useful alternative approach for laparoscopy when insertion of a sharp trocar is undesirable.