Surgical techniques have evolved tremendously over this past century. To maximize the efficacy and minimize the invasiveness of laparoscopic surgery, researchers have sought to implement wider application of robotics. Nevertheless, both optimism without sound evidence and fear of new technology obscure the appropriate uses of robotic surgery. In the present review, we attempted to provide a balanced perspective on the current state of robotic gastrectomy, outlining evidence and opportunities for the use thereof. Although evidence is limited, the use of robotics is feasible for gastric cancer surgery, and less than 10 cases of robotic surgery are needed to become proficient therein. Compared to the clinical impact of laparoscopy on gastric cancer surgery, the additional benefits of robotic surgery to patients seem to be limited. Despite additional costs and longer surgeries, robotic surgery reportedly does not offer surgical outcomes superior to those for laparoscopic surgery, according to a recent multicenter study. Meanwhile, however, our in-depth review of retrospective and prospective reports revealed that robots could expand the indications of minimally invasive gastrectomy for patients requiring total gastrectomy and D2 lymph node dissection. Moreover, we found that robotic gastrectomy is associated with a higher number of retrieved lymph nodes, less bleeding, fewer complications, and shorter hospital stay, compared to laparoscopic gastrectomy. Accordingly, new surgical approaches using advanced technologies, such as near infrared detectors, the Tilepro® multi-input display, dual consoles, and the Single-Site® system, are under investigation. In conclusion, measuring the additional benefits of robotic over laparoscopic surgery would be difficult and clinically insignificant. Thus, developing new surgical procedures that extend the benefits of conventional laparoscopic surgery to patients in whom minimally invasive surgery would not be possible is necessary to justify the greater use of robotic surgery.
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