Background: A PubMed search of the biomedical literature was carried out to systematically review the role of laparoscopy in colonic diverticular disease. All original reports comparing elective laparoscopic, hand-assisted, and open colon resection for diverticular disease of the colon, as well as original reports evaluating outcomes after laparoscopic lavage for acute diverticulitis, were considered. Of the 21 articles chosen for final review, nine evaluated laparoscopic versus open elective resection, six compared hand-assisted colon resection versus conventional laparoscopic resection, and six considered laparoscopic lavage. Five were randomized controlled trials. Results: Elective laparoscopic colon resection for diverticular disease is associated with increased operative time, decreased postoperative pain, fewer postoperative complications, less paralytic ileus, and shorter hospital stay compared to open colectomy. Laparoscopic lavage and drainage appears to be a safe and effective therapy for selected patients with complicated diverticulitis. Conclusions: Elective laparoscopic colectomy for diverticular disease is associated with decreased postoperative morbidity compared to open colectomy, leading to shorter hospital stay and fewer costs. Laparoscopic lavage has an increasing but poorly defined role in complicated diverticulitis.