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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2007 Aug;120(2):495-505; discussion 506-7.

Lateral pharyngeal wall and velar movement and tailoring velopharyngeal surgery: determinants of velopharyngeal incompetence resolution in patients with cleft palate.

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  • 1Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Stollery Children's Hospital, University of Alberta, WC Mackenzie Health Science Center, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

After primary palatoplasty, patients with cleft palate may still require secondary surgical procedures to correct residual velopharyngeal incompetence. This study evaluated speech outcomes of patients who underwent differential velopharyngeal surgery based on degree of lateral pharyngeal wall movement and velar movement.

METHODS:

In this retrospective cohort study, 31 patients with cleft palate from 1992 to 2003 underwent tailor-made velopharyngeal surgery with complete preoperative and postoperative speech assessments. All patients were evaluated postoperatively for velopharyngeal incompetence resolution, persistent velopharyngeal incompetence, and hyponasality.

RESULTS:

Velopharyngeal incompetence was resolved in 90 percent of patients. Severe hyponasality occurred as a complication in 16 percent, requiring subsequent division of the pharyngeal flap. Patients with lateral pharyngeal wall movement greater than 25 percent had a significantly greater chance of incompetence resolution compared with those with lateral pharyngeal wall movement less than 25 percent (p < 0.001). Regarding combined lateral pharyngeal wall movement plus velar movement, all groups showed significantly lower velopharyngeal competence scores following surgery (p < 0.001). Patients with lateral pharyngeal wall movement less than 25 percent and velar movement greater than 50 percent had the least successful speech outcome. The data also showed that various types of surgical operations performed on patients with similar combined degrees of lateral pharyngeal wall movement and velar movement can result in equally successful speech outcomes. This finding indicated flexibility in following the treatment algorithm for tailoring velopharyngeal surgery.

CONCLUSION:

The degree of lateral pharyngeal wall movement and velar movement, rather than type of surgical procedure chosen, is a more important determinant of velopharyngeal incompetence resolution in patients with cleft palate.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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