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Cleft Palate J. 1975 Oct;12:356-68.

The occult submucous cleft palate.


We have studied 41 patients with classic submucous cleft and 32 cases with occult submucous cleft. Both groups have the same anatomic abnormality that leads to velar dysfunction-the insertion of the palate muscles onto the hard palate rather than onto the midline soft palate raphe. However, the occult submucous cleft palate does not have the classic triad of bifid uvula, hard palate bony notch, and furrow in the midline of the soft palate. Characteristic facial features, cephalmetric x-rays, and cine voice studies can help make a presumptive diagnosis of occult submucous cleft palate. Surgical management includes a diagnostic palate exploration to identify muscle configuration followed by levator muscle sling reconstruction, palate pushback, and pharyngeal flap. Excellent speech results are obtained except with patients having palate paresis.

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