Historically, open retroperoneal partial nephrectomy (PN) was the benchmark for nephron-sparing treatment of patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC). During the last decade, an increased use of robot-assisted partial nephrectomy (RAPN) has been used in favour of the open technique. This shift is due to less blood loss, shorter hospitalisation and fewer complications, but also at higher cost. The RAPN technique was developed through an abdominal approach with risks for abdominal complications. A retroperitoneal approach diminishes these risks and also the risk of tumour seeding outside the retroperitoneum. The growing experience and interest in minimally invasive techniques such as retroperitoneal RAPN indicate that these procedures will increase over time.