An external rectal prolapse (ERP) is often associated with faecal incontinence, and surgery is the recommended therapy. It has been suggested that correction of a high grade internal rectal prolapse (HIRP) is also worthwhile for patients with faecal incontinence. The aim of the present study is to compare the results of laparoscopic ventral rectopexy (LVR) in patients with faecal incontinence associated with either an ERP or a HIRP. Consecutive patients suffering from faecal incontinence, who underwent a LVR between June 2010 and October 2012, were identified from a prospective database. All patients underwent preoperative defaecating proctography, anorectal manometry and ultrasound. Symptoms were assessed preoperatively and at 1 year after operation using a standardized questionnaire incorporating the Faecal Incontinence Severity Index (FISI; range 0-61) and the Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index (GIQLI). LVR was performed in 50 incontinent patients with a HIRP, and in 41 patients with an ERP. Preoperatively, the FISI was higher in patients with HIRP (HIRP 42 versus ERP 30, P < 0.01). The recurrence rate at 1 year was similar in both groups (HIRP 6 % versus ERP 2 %, P = 0.156). The FISI scores were significantly reduced in both groups (HIRP 48 % versus ERP 50 %, both P < 0.01). GIQLI was equally improved in both groups (HIRP 17 % versus ERP 18 %, both P < 0.01). Laparoscopic ventral rectopexy for the treatment of faecal incontinence achieves equivalent outcomes in both patients with an external rectal prolapse or high grade internal rectal prolapse.