Management of noncleft velopharyngeal insufficiency

Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 Aug 1;29(4):283-288. doi: 10.1097/MOO.0000000000000735.


Purpose of review: Velopharyngeal insufficiency in the absence of an overt cleft-palate is a less common and often missed cause of a resonance disorder. The purpose of this manuscript is to provide the reader with an overview of the clinical assessment. Highlight the need for multidisciplinary involvement. Discuss the process of decision-making related to a repair and finally comment on the preoperative, intra-operative, and postoperative considerations.

Recent findings: With the advent of small calibre videonasendoscopes, evaluation of the size, location, and closure pattern of the velopharyngeal gap has improved the surgeons' ability to provide a tailored repair. Evolutions in technique including posterior pharyngeal wall augmentation and buccal flap advancement in palatal lengthening have all increased the options available to the patient and treating team.

Summary: Multidisciplinary assessment by trained specialist from speech and language pathology and surgery remain the cornerstone in the evaluation and management of this patient cohort. Many have a chromosomal anomaly that should be tested for and managed accordingly. These patients are often diagnosed late and have developed additional compensatory speech disorders that often need to be addressed following repair of the palate. Targeted thoughtful assessment will allow for a greater likelihood of successful repair.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cleft Palate* / diagnosis
  • Cleft Palate* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Palate, Soft
  • Pharynx
  • Speech
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency* / diagnosis
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency* / etiology
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency* / surgery