BACKGROUND: Two decades since the advent of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the rate of bile duct injuries still remains higher than in the open cholecystectomy era. METHODS: The rate and complexity of bile duct injuries was evaluated in 83,449 patients who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy between 1995 and 2008 in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California system. Fifty-six surgeons who performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the past were surveyed to determine factors that predispose to bile duct injuries. RESULTS: The overall incidence of bile duct injuries was .10%; 59.5% of the 84 injuries were cystic duct leaks. Incidence varied slightly from .10% (1995-1998) to .08% (1999-2003) and .12% (2004-2008). There was a trend toward more proximal injuries (injury <2 cm from the bifurcation: 14.3% to 44.4% to 50.0% of major injuries). The misinterpretation of anatomy was cited by 92.9% of surgeons as the primary cause of bile duct injuries; 70.9% cited a lack of experience as a contributing factor. CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy has an overall low risk of bile duct injuries; the rate remains constant, but injury complexity may have increased over time.