Nasopharyngoscopic Evaluation of Velopharyngeal Closure During Speech

J Craniofac Surg. 2024 May 10. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000010228. Online ahead of print.


Definitive oronasal separation through closure of the velopharyngeal (VP) sphincter is necessary for the development of normal speech and feeding. Individuals with velopharyngeal incompetence or insufficiency often exhibit hypernasal speech, poor speech intelligibility, and nasal regurgitation. Assessment of VP sphincter function using nasopharyngoscopy is a key element in identifying VP dysfunction. A foundational understanding of normal anatomy and physiology of the velopharyngeal mechanism is paramount to successful diagnosis. This includes recognition of 4 distinct VP sphincter closure patterns: coronal, sagittal, circular, and circular with Passavant's ridge. In this study, the authors showcase 2 patients with velopharyngeal competence who presented to an ear, nose, and throat clinic for nasopharyngoscopic evaluation. This study sought to demonstrate the use of nasopharyngoscopy to recognize velopharyngeal closure patterns and discuss how they may influence the surgical management of VP dysfunction.