Introduction: This is a case-matched analysis of patients undergoing laparoscopic versus open hepatectomy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), with specific regard to margin status and survival. Methods: Laparoscopic cases were matched with open controls by cirrhosis and tumor size (within 10%). Data were evaluated by logistic regression using the generalized estimating equation method. Mixed linear regression models were used to assess operative duration in the groups. Overall and disease-free survival were compared using a Cox proportional frailty model. Results: Twenty laparoscopic cases were matched to 56 open resections. Thirty patients (39%) developed recurrence and 13 patients (17%) died, including one (1.3%) death within 30 days. There were no significant differences in age, gender, cirrhosis or tumor size. Paired univariate and multivariate analyses showed cases of laparoscopic resection had similar rates of transfusion and positive margins compared with open resection. Operative duration was similar in laparoscopic (mean 161 ± 37 min) and open (mean 165 ± 53 min) groups. The adjusted odds of length of stay ≥ 6 days was significantly lower in patients with laparoscopic resection [odds ratio (OR) = 0.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.02-0.27]. Both unadjusted and adjusted analyses showed no significant association between type of resection and overall or disease-free survival. Discussion: Neither margin status, nor recurrence, nor survival was significantly different between the two cohorts. Laparoscopic resection for malignancy is safe, with a similar operative time as open hepatectomy. If tumor location is amenable, laparoscopic resection for HCC is a reasonable alternative to open resection with the added benefits of improved cosmesis and sooner discharge home.