Different barbed pharyngoplasty techniques for retropalatal collapse in obstructive sleep apnea patients: a systematic review

Antonio Moffa, Vittorio Rinaldi, Mario Mantovani, Michelangelo Pierri, Valeria Fiore, Andrea Costantino, Lorenzo Pignataro, Peter Baptista, Michele Cassano, Manuele Casale

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The use of barbed sutures (BS) for the treatment of retropalatal collapse and vibration in patients suffering from snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has significantly increased in the last few years. Many surgeons have discovered the advantages and unique properties of the BS and allowed the popular surgical pharyngoplasty techniques to be updated and improved. Methods: A systematic review was performed to identify all the clinical studies concerning the different barbed pharyngoplasty (BP) techniques used for the treatment of palatal collapse in snoring and OSA patients. A qualitative analysis of data extracted was conducted. Results: We included 12 studies of which 10 are prospective and 2 retrospective: 9 single-arm studies on the efficacy of a specific BP technique, 1 randomized clinical trial on the comparison between BP and control groups, and 2 studies on the correlation between two different BP techniques. To date, in the literature, 5 different types of BP techniques have been described: barbed snore surgery, barbed reposition pharyngoplasty, barbed expansion sphincter pharyngoplasty, barbed suture suspension, and barbed soft palate posterior webbing flap pharyngoplasty. All the studies showed an overall improvement in the primary efficacy parameters investigated (apnea-hypopnea index, oxygen desaturation index, and Epworth sleepiness scale) in each of the surgical techniques performed without any major complications. Conclusions: Given the extreme heterogeneity of the studies analyzed, it is necessary to perform more randomized and control studies on large samples aimed to define the best BP technique based on its effectiveness, surgical success rate, patient’s compliance, and complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1115-1127
JournalSleep and Breathing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Barbed anterior pharyngoplasty
  • Barbed lateral pharyngoplasty
  • Barbed pharyngoplasty
  • Barbed sutures
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Different barbed pharyngoplasty techniques for retropalatal collapse in obstructive sleep apnea patients: a systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this