Premature infants are subjected to adverse effects of intubation to benefit from surfactant. We hypothesized that administration of surfactant through a laryngeal mask airway (LMA) is as effective as administration through an endotracheal tube (ETT) and that time and physiologic changes during instrumentation will be less in the LMA group. This study is a randomized, controlled trial using newborn pigs. Lung injury was induced via surfactant washout. Animals were randomized into groups: 1) LMA placed, no surfactant administered (control; n = 8); 2) surfactant via an LMA (LMA group; n = 8); and 3) surfactant via an ETT (ETT group; n = 8). We demonstrated that partial pressure of oxygen in arterial blood (Pao2) levels of the LMA and ETT groups were not statistically different. Time for successful placement of LMA was 19 ± 1 s versus ETT 123 ± 35 s (mean ± SEM); number of attempts for successful LMA placement was 1.1 (1-2) versus ETT 1.9 (1-7) [mean (range)]. Administration of surfactant via an LMA compared with an ETT resulted in similar improvements in oxygenation. Placement of the device required less time and fewer attempts. These data suggest that further study in human neonates is justified. If proven effective, some infants with respiratory distress may be able to receive surfactant while avoiding intubation.