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BACKGROUND: Robot-assisted laparoscopy has been used in a wide variety of surgical fields; however, the financial costs involved are high and convincing proof of superiority in terms of quality of life, cost effectiveness and survival is often lacking. Possibly, there might be small benefits for the patient or for the surgeon's health that might warrant the use of robotics in limited fields of surgery. METHODS: We performed a critical appraisal of the literature, searching for scientific evidence supporting the use of robotics in daily laparoscopic surgery. RESULTS: Convincing evidence supporting the use of robotics is lacking. CONCLUSION: In an era of worldwide economic crisis, it is about time to start a critical discussion as to whether we should drastically limit, or even abandon, the use of robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery and focus on more cost-effective strategies of healthcare improvement. We suggest the use of robotics should be limited to well-powered, randomized clinical trials in a limited field of research.