BACKGROUND: Laparoscopy is widely used as a tool in many clinical situations allowing for diagnosis and/or surgical management in a minimally invasive fashion. Most laparoscopic cases are ambulatory and allow patients to recover quickly. Nonetheless, attention to surgical technique is paramount to avoid both short and long term complications. CASE: A 32-year-old woman had a laparoscopy and a reported left salpingoophorectomy for benign disease of the ovary in September, 1994. Shortly thereafter, in January, 1995, she was diagnosed with an intrauterine pregnancy and delivered in October of 1995 by spontaneous vaginal delivery. The pregnancy and delivery were both uncomplicated. The patient presented four weeks postpartum with clinical suspicion of appendicitis. However, at the time of laparotomy, the patient was found to have a retained foreign body from her prior laparoscopy in the right lower quadrant with a pelvic abscess and evidence of prior right salpingoophorectomy. The appendix appeared grossly normal. CONCLUSION: Laparoscopy is a safe, effective modality for various surgical and gynecologic conditions. Although laparoscopy is usually done on an outpatient basis, complications can manifest several weeks or months later. This case illustrates and reminds us of the importance of adherence to surgical laparoscopic principles. These include direct visualization when removing equipment and a complete count of surgical instrumentation to confirm the integrity of such at the end of each procedure.