Velopharyngeal Insufficiency in Craniofacial Microsomia: Prevalence, Diagnosis, and Treatment

J Craniofac Surg. 2021 Nov-Dec;32(8):2771-2773. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000007938.


The purpose of this study was to analyze the prevalence, diagnosis, and management of velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) in patients with craniofacial microsomia (CFM).Craniofacial microsomia patients 13 years of age and above treated at 2 centers from 1997 to 2019 were reviewed retrospectively for demographics, prevalence of VPI, and management of VPI. Patients with isolated microtia were excluded. Comparisons were made between patients with and without VPI using chi-square and independent samples t tests.Among 68 patients with CFM (63.2% male, mean 20.7 years of age), VPI was diagnosed in 19 patients (27.9%) at an average age of 7.2 years old. Among the total cohort, 61 patients had isolated CFM, of which 12 (19.6%) were diagnosed with VPI. Of the patients with isolated CFM and VPI, 8 patients (66.7%) were recommended for nasoendoscopy, of which only 2 patients completed. Seven isolated CFM patients (58.3%) underwent speech therapy, whereas none received VPI surgery. In contrast, 7 patients were diagnosed with both CFM and cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P), all of whom had VPI and were recommended for nasoendoscopy, with 5 (71.4%) completing nasoendoscopy, 6 (85.7%) undergoing speech therapy, and 6 (85.7%) undergoing corrective VPI surgery. Overall, we demonstrated that VPI was present in 27.9% of all CFM patients. On subset analysis, VPI was diagnosed in 20% of patients with isolated CFM and 100% of patients with CFM and CL/P. In addition, despite clinical diagnosis of VPI, a sizeable proportion of isolated CFM patients did not undergo therapy or surgical interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cleft Lip*
  • Cleft Palate* / complications
  • Cleft Palate* / diagnosis
  • Cleft Palate* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Goldenhar Syndrome* / complications
  • Goldenhar Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Goldenhar Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency* / diagnosis
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency* / epidemiology
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency* / therapy