As many meta-analyses comparing pediatric minimally invasive to open surgery can be found in the literature, the aim of this review is to summarize the current state of minimally invasive pediatric surgery and specifically focus on the trends and developments which we expect in the upcoming years. Print and electronic databases were systematically searched for specific keywords, and cross-link searches with references found in the literature were added. Full-text articles were obtained, and eligibility criteria were applied independently. Pediatric minimally invasive surgery is a wide field, ranging from minimally invasive fetal surgery over microlaparoscopy in newborns to robotic surgery in adolescents. New techniques and devices, like natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES), single-incision and endoscopic surgery, as well as the artificial uterus as a backup for surgery in preterm fetuses, all contribute to the development of less invasive procedures for children. In spite of all promising technical developments which will definitely change the way pediatric surgeons will perform minimally invasive procedures in the upcoming years, one must bear in mind that only hard data of prospective randomized controlled and double-blind trials can validate whether these techniques and devices really improve the surgical outcome of our patients.
Keywords: endoscopic surgery; endoscopy; fetal surgery; minimally invasive surgery; open surgery; pediatric surgery; single-incision surgery; surgical devices; surgical techniques.