VPI or velopharygeal incompetency may develop in cleft patient and be noticed when normal speech sounds cannot be made. A speech therapist can help during speech development but at times a surgical procedure may be necessary to correct VPI. A screening test (nasoendoscopy) may be needed and Dr. Bradley will tailor your procedure based on the test results.
VPI SURGERY OBJECTIVES:
-To modify the anatomy of the palatal or throat region to correct for VPI and allow for more normal speech development.
-To ensure that the VPI surgery does not create a problem with breathing at night called obstructive sleep apnea.
STATE OF THE ART TECHNIUES:
Dr. Bradley works with the speech therapist to determine the anatomic problem. He then will perform either a pharygeoplasty (sphincter tightening) procedure or pharyngeal flap procedure to allow for proper closure when necessary during speech but still allow for adequate nasal airflow.
- Is VPI surgery always necessary?
No, many times the first palate repair heals well and good speech is develops. Other times, VPI surgery is needed because an anatomic problem develops. When VPI occurs and corrective VPI surgery is not performed, frustration with speech therapy is likely. .
- How do I know which procedure to have?
Dr. Bradley and the speech therapist will discuss your test results and VPI surgery recommendations will be given to you based on the anatomic problem.