Apparatus for applying at least one row of two-part surgical fasteners to body tissue, each surgical fastener having a pronged fastener portion for piercing body tissue, and an aperture retainer dimensioned and configured for engaged reception of the pronged fastener portion in interference fit therewith for gripping the body tissue therebetween. The apparatus includes means for holding a plurality of the fastener portions in generally aligned relation, means spaced from the fastener portion holding means for gripping body tissue therebetween and for releasably holding a plurality of the retainers in generally aligned relation and positioned opposite the fasteners when the body tissue is positioned therebetween. Means is provided for sequentially advancing the pronged fastener portions toward the apertured retainers to cause the fastener portions to pierce the body tissue and to be received within the apertures of the retainers in engaged interference relation so as to cause the fastener portions and the retainers to be engaged while gripping the body tissue therebetween. In the preferred embodiment a knife edge is provided to cut the body tissue midway between opposed pairs of rows of the fasteners as the fasteners are applied. A method for applying two spaced apart pairs of rows of the fasteners to body tissue on the apparatus of the invention is also disclosed. A locking mechanism can be provided in the form of a hook which engages the cam bar retainer after firing the staples to prevent forward movement of the cam bar retainer.