A modified procedure for velopharyngeal sphincteroplasty in primary cleft palate repair and secondary velopharyngeal incompetence treatment and its preliminary results.J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg 2006; 59(8):817-25JP
During cleft repair, velopharyngeal sphincter reconstruction is still a challenge to plastic surgeons. To improve the surgical treatment for cleft palate and secondary velopharyngeal incompetence (VPI), a carefully designed modified procedure for primary palatoplasty and secondary VPI was presented. Fifty-six patients (48 for primary cleft palate repair and eight for secondary VPI of previously repaired clefts) underwent this procedure from 1988 to 2001. The modified procedure is a combination of the tunnelled palatopharyngeus myomucosal flap for dynamic circular reconstruction of the pharyngeal element of the velopharyngeal sphincter and the double-reversing Z-plasty with levator velo palatini muscles reposition in the velar element of the sphincter. The satisfactory velopharyngeal competence (complete velopharyngeal closure and marginal velopharyngeal closure) was achieved in 23 of 25 patients with primary cleft palate repair examined by nasendoscopy and the nasality, speech articulation and intelligibility are also assessed in 25 primary cleft palate repaired patients with 92% satisfactory result (normal speech and speech with mild VPI) in single word test and 88% in continuous speech evaluation. Based on our experience, we believe that this modified procedure is a reasonable choice for primary cleft repair and secondary VPI treatment because it is in accord with normal physiology and anatomy of the velopharyngeal sphincter, can lengthen the soft palate, decrease the enlarged velopharynx, augment the posterior pharyngeal wall, and enhance the relationship between the muscles of velopharyngeal sphincter which results in a dynamic neo-sphincter in palatopharyngoplasty. Further study of the procedure is needed. The theoretical basis, operative highlights, velopharyngeal function, advantages and disadvantages of the modified procedure were discussed.