Barbed Pharyngoplasty simulation using a 3D-printed model: design and validation study

Lucrezia Giorgi, Antonio Moffa, Giovanni Pericone, Dorina Galantai, Luigi De Benedetto, Ofer Jacobowitz, Claudio Vicini, Rodolfo Lugo, Peter M. Baptista, Manuele Casale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Learning how to use barbed sutures and perform Barbed Pharyngoplasty (BP) is challenging due to limited surgical training opportunities. This work aims to design, develop, and validate a new 3D surgical simulator to train ENT residents and specialists in performing BP. Methods: The Barbed Pharyngoplasty Simulator (BPS) was designed using diagnostic images of the facial mass and testing different materials to replicate the mucosal and bony tissues. ENT specialists with experience in BP and ENT residents were included in the validation study and were asked to perform the Alianza BP. After the simulation, they compiled the Face and Content Validity Questionnaires. Results: The BPS consists of a reusable cranial structure that contains the disposable palatopharyngeal structure, replicating the palatal structures and the tongue. Fifteen experienced ENT specialists and nine residents were included in the study. Findings demonstrated that the BPS faithfully replicated the muscular and fibrous-bony palatopharyngeal structures, with only 11% of residents having a negative opinion of the mucosal tissue. All the participants positively rated the sensation of using surgical instruments on the simulator. Also, ENT residents rated all aspects of the content validity test from normal to excellent, while specialists rated the BPS as a general training tool from normal to excellent; for lateral pharyngoplasty, BP, and Alianza, only 6.7% of participants disagreed with its usefulness, and 13.3% disagreed with it for anterior pharyngoplasty. Conclusion: The BPS proposed in this preliminary study can potentially be a valuable tool in BP surgical training for residents and young otolaryngologists.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSleep and Breathing
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D-print
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Simulation
  • Training


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