A total of 2407 articles were found in the above-mentioned databases (n = 2404) and through other sources (n = 3) using the default keywords. First, duplicate studies were removed (n = 809), followed by the screening of the remaining 258 studies by title and abstract. Next, the remaining 45 identified studies were assessed for eligibility and 25 of these were excluded for multiple reasons. Papers reporting on nonsurgical management without addressing PCF occurrence, those reporting on SBT use in the management of cervical esophageal tumors or stenosis, as well as reviews and case reports, were excluded. Finally, 20 studies were selected for analysis, including 2496 patients. Among them, only 10 studies provided data for use and non-use of SBT as well and were therefore suitable for meta-analysis. Subsequent meta-analyses were performed with six studies providing data on SBT application in more than 20% of cases and with five studies providing data on only laryngopharyngectomies. We followed the PRISMA guidelines [22] to identify appropriate articles as illustrated by the flow diagram (Figure 1).


After selection of adequate articles, we performed data extraction. Beside information regarding gender distribution or number of included cases, we extracted data regarding the extent of laryngopharyngectomy, number of patients receiving or not receiving SBT, occurrence of PCF depending on application of SBT and type of reconstruction.