According to a study published Online First in Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, patients with wider cleft palates seem to have an increased risk of developing hyper nasal speech and nasal air escape during speaking (velopharyngeal insufficiency or VPI) after surgery.
The study's background information states that about one of 2,000 live births has an isolated cleft palate, and between 2 to 30% of patients suffer from VPI, following cleft palate repair surgery.
Derek J. Lam, M.D., M.P.H., of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, and his team performed a retrospective study on 73 patients with isolated cleft palates who had palate repair surgery at Seattle Children's Hospital between 2003 and 2009, at the average age of 12.5 months.
The age range of all patients was 8-30 months, whilst the average follow-up time was 22 months.
The findings revealed that 23 patients or 32% were diagnosed with VPI following surgery. In a summarized statement the authors said:
"In conclusion, the risk of developing VPI after isolated cleft palate repair appears to increase with increasing width of the palatal cleft, and the rate of postoperative VPI is particularly high in patients with a cleft width greater than 10mm."
Written By Petra Rattue