Recruitment maneuvers have been the subject of intense investigation. Their role in the acute care setting is debated given the lack of information on their influence on clinical outcomes. Oxygenation improvement is often a striking effect, together with changes of respiratory mechanics. However, hemodynamic compromise is frequently associated with the maneuver, sometimes even barotrauma. Another possible downside is bacterial translocation secondary to lung overdistention, as suggested by experimental and initial clinical data. When a recruitment maneuver is performed, the patho-physiological consequences of lung recruitment should guide clinicians more than oxygenation improvement alone.