Staging laparotomy was performed in 125 consecutive patients including 81 with Hodgkin's disease, 37 with other types of lymphoma, and seven with mycosis fungoides. The mortality was 0.8% and rate of complications was 5%. Preoperative work-up, including x-ray film studies and scanning procedures, did not accurately identify the extent of disease, nor was it possible consistently to distinguish early lymphoma in the spleen, liver, or lymph nodes at operation. An operative technique is described that was designed to obtain adequate biopsy specimens from areas most likely to be diseased and to minimize the period of convalescence. At present, the operation seems to be useful in planning therapy for early lymphoma.