Numerous studies have shown that for optimal survival in localized International Neuroblastoma Staging System stage 1-3 neuroblastoma, complete tumour resection (CR, macroscopic total tumour removal) is usually mandatory. In contrast, it is conceivable that in stage 4 disseminated disease, less extensive surgery [gross total resection (GTR), >95 % tumour removal] may suffice. This review shows substantial survival benefit in studies reporting on stage 4 patients undergoing CR, but also in studies reporting on patients undergoing GTR. Comparison between these studies is severely hampered by treatment heterogeneity. We found only four studies that explicitly compared survival between patients undergoing either CR or GTR. Two of these studies showed favourable results for patients treated with CR, while the other two did not show differences in survival.