Speech outcomes at 5 and 10 years of age after one-stage palatal repair with muscle reconstruction in children born with isolated cleft palate.J Plast Surg Hand Surg. 2018 Feb; 52(1):20-29.JP
The aim of this study was to investigate speech outcomes in children with clefts in the hard and/or soft palate only (CPH/CPS), in order to determine the prevalence of cleft speech characteristics, the change between 5 and 10 years of age, and the difference in occurrence between CPH and CPS.
A consecutive series of 88 children born with CPH or CPS were included in a retrospective cohort. All participants were treated with one-stage palatal repair using a minimal incision technique with muscle reconstruction (mean age 13 months). Twelve children (14%) received a velopharyngeal flap. Cleft speech variables were rated at 5 and 10 years of age independently by three experienced external speech-language pathologists. Inter- and intra-rater agreements were determined, and the prevalence of cleft speech characteristics was calculated.
Moderate-to-severe hypernasality and weak pressure consonants were present in 5%-10% of the children at 5 years, with marginal but statistically significant improvement at 10 years of age. Frequently or always occurring audible nasal air leakage was detected in 20% of children at age 5, and increased to ∼35% of the children at 10 years. Ten per cent had compensatory articulation at age 5, and 25% demonstrated s-distortions, whereas few had these problems at age 10.
The results demonstrate low occurrence of compensatory articulation problems in this cohort, even by 5 years of age. The high presence of symptoms of velopharyngeal insufficiency at 10 years of age suggests a need for additional secondary velopharyngeal surgery.