Speech outcomes and velopharyngeal function after surgical treatment of velopharyngeal insufficiency in individuals with signs of velocardiofacial syndrome

J Craniofac Surg. 2011 Sep;22(5):1736-42. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e31822e624f.


Objective: The objective of the study was to analyze if individuals with velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS) present the same characteristics of speech and velopharyngeal function (VPF) compared with patients with nonsyndromic submucous cleft palate, as well as to compare the effectiveness of palate surgery on the speech function and VPF between groups.

Methods: This was a prospective study performed at the Speech Therapy Sector and Physiology Laboratory, Hospital for Rehabilitation of Craniofacial Anomalies/University of São Paulo.The procedure performed was primary palatoplasty associated or not to superiorly based pharyngeal flap surgery.There were 50 patients with velopharyngeal insufficiency: 25 with signals of VCFS (VCFS group) and 25 without syndrome with submucous cleft palate (SMCP group).The hypernasality was scored by 3 examiners; nasalance was evaluated by nasometry, and VPF was assessed by the size of the velopharyngeal gap on the nasoendoscopy. The evaluations were conducted before and, in average, 18 months after surgery.

Results: Before surgery, the VCFS and SMCP groups presented similar speech function and VPF characteristics in all parameters, with no statistically significant differences. After surgery, there was reduction in the hypernasality, nasalance, and VPF in, respectively, 20%, 31%, and 36% of patients in the VCFS group and in 24%, 30%, and 30% in the SMCP group. Elimination/normalization of variables was obtained in 28%, 19%, and 8% of patients in the VCFS group and 20%, 40%, and 25% in the SMCP group, respectively, for hypernasality, nasalance, and VPF. There was no statistically significant difference between groups.

Conclusions: Patients with VCFS presented similar speech function and VPF characteristics as patients with nonsyndromic SMCP. The surgery for velopharyngeal insufficiency correction was equally effective for the improvement and resolution of speech symptoms and VPF in patients with VCFS compared with the SMCP group.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DiGeorge Syndrome / complications*
  • DiGeorge Syndrome / surgery*
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oral Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Speech Disorders / etiology*
  • Speech Disorders / surgery*
  • Speech Production Measurement
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency / etiology*
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency / surgery*