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Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008 Mar;134(3):268-71. doi: 10.1001/archotol.134.3.268.

Injection pharyngoplasty with calcium hydroxyapatite for treatment of velopalatal insufficiency.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 243 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



To evaluate the efficacy of injectable calcium hydroxylapatite for treatment of velopalatal (VP) insufficiency (VPI).


Observational case series of 7 patients treated with injectable calcium hydroxylapatite for VPI and followed for 10 to 24 months.


Academic pediatric otolaryngology practice.


Seven children aged 6 to 16 years with clinically significant VPI stemming from documented small VP gaps and who did not benefit from speech therapy were treated with calcium hydroxylapatite injection pharyngoplasty.


Posterior pharyngeal wall augmentation with calcium hydroxylapatite.


Treatment success was defined as (1) speech improvement to the degree that parents felt no additional treatment was needed and (2) meeting postoperative nasometric measures. Treatment failure was defined as parental report of insufficient improvement in speech. Complications and additional treatments for VPI were noted.


There were no major complications in any of the 7 children injected with calcium hydroxylapatite. There was 1 minor complication: 1 patient was readmitted for postoperative pain and dehydration. Of the 7 patients, 4 experienced a satisfactory result for up to 17 months. Findings from postoperative nasometry were either within reference range, or less than 1 SD greater than the reference range, for all sounds. There were 3 treatment failures, each with preexisting craniofacial abnormality. Two patients in the group that failed treatment later underwent revision superior pharyngeal flap surgery without complication or hindrance from the calcium hydroxylapatite injection. Four children underwent subsequent magnetic resonance imaging evaluations up to 1 year after injection, which revealed no evidence of migration.


The data from this small series suggest that posterior pharyngeal wall injection with calcium hydroxylapatite is safe and may be effective in treating select patients with VPI. Further longitudinal studies, with a larger series of patients, examining the safety, efficacy, and patient selection are warranted to better understand the possible use of posterior pharyngeal wall injection of calcium hydroxylapatite in children with symptomatic VPI.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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