BACKGROUND: The surgical approach to mediastinal tumors has changed during the last two decades. Median sternotomies and thoracotomies have been replaced in part by minimally invasive procedures. Aim of this review is to highlight applications of a robotic-assisted approach in mediastinal tumor surgery. METHODS: Review of the current literature. RESULTS: A robotic approach for thymectomy, anterior mediastinal mass resection, pericardial cyst resection, diagnostic sampling of enlarged lymph nodes in the middle mediastinum, resection of benign neurogenic tumors in the posterior mediastinum and esophageal procedures was shown to be feasible. Postoperative outcomes as well as the contraindications and limitations of a robotic approach are discussed. CONCLUSIONS: For appropriate indications minimal invasive surgery with a surgical robot can safely be performed for tumors in the anterior, middle, and posterior compartments of the mediastinum.