Our aim was to examine the current status of minimally invasive approaches to ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction and compare it to the gold standard of open pyeloplasty. A review of the literature was conducted using PubMed and Medline databases for UPJ obstruction. Open pyeloplasty achieves good results, in the range of 90-100%. Laparoscopic pyeloplasty results are as good as those of open surgery. However, the goal of laparoscopic pyeloplasty as a means of providing minimally invasive surgery to a larger number of patients has not been achieved. The reason for this is the difficulty faced by most urologists in acquiring the technical skills to perform a laparoscopic pyeloplasty. In reports of robot-assisted pyeloplasty, results in the range of 88-97% appear to be achieved. Robotic technology has the potential to make minimally invasive pyeloplasty an easier skill to acquire for a larger number of urologists. Long-term data are still required to determine its efficacy. © 2008 Springer London.