The purpose of this article is to review the literature published and to assess the success of treatment of patients with atrophic posterior maxilla with pterygoid implants. Studies from 1992 to 2009 on patients with atrophic posterior maxilla rehabilitated with pterygoid implants were reviewed. Those reporting clinical series of at least 5 patients with atrophic posterior maxilla (Class IV and V of Cawood and Howell), rehabilitated with pterygoid implants and fixed prosthesis, and with 12 months minimum follow-up were included. In each study the following were assessed: number of patients, number of implants, surgical technique, prosthetic rehabilitation, success rate, bone loss, complications and patient satisfaction. Thirteen articles were included, reporting a total of 1053 pterygoid implants in 676 patients. The weighted average success of pterygoid implants was 90.7%; bone loss evaluated radiographically ranged between 0 and 4.5 mm. No additional complications compared with conventional implants were found, and patient satisfaction level with the prosthesis was high. Pterygoid implants have high success rates, similar bone loss levels to those of conventional implants, minimal complications and good acceptance by patients, being therefore an alternative to treat patients with atrophic posterior maxilla. Two anatomical locations in which implants are placed in the retromolar area can be distinguished: the pterygoid process and the pterygomaxillary region. Implant lengths and angulations vary between these two techniques.