This paper reports a novel method to track brain shift using a laser-range scanner (LRS) and nonrigid registration techniques. The LRS used in this paper is capable of generating textured point-clouds describing the surface geometry/intensity pattern of the brain as presented during cranial surgery. Using serial LRS acquisitions of the brain's surface and two-dimensional (2-D) nonrigid image registration, we developed a method to track surface motion during neurosurgical procedures. A series of experiments devised to evaluate the performance of the developed shift-tracking protocol are reported. In a controlled, quantitative phantom experiment, the results demonstrate that the surface shift-tracking protocol is capable of resolving shift to an accuracy of approximately 1.6 mm given initial shifts on the order of 15 mm. Furthermore, in a preliminary in vivo case using the tracked LRS and an independent optical measurement system, the automatic protocol was able to reconstruct 50% of the brain shift with an accuracy of 3.7 mm while the manual measurement was able to reconstruct 77% with an accuracy of 2.1 mm. The results suggest that a LRS is an effective tool for tracking brain surface shift during neurosurgery.