Surgical management of velopharyngeal dysfunction: outcome analysis of autogenous posterior pharyngeal wall augmentation.


Posterior pharyngeal wall augmentation has been advocated for patients having velopharyngeal dysfunction with a small coronal gap. Nonautogenous augmentation has not been accepted widely because of migration or extrusion of alloplastic implants and resorption of injected materials. Autogenous posterior pharyngeal wall augmentation has been performed for decades by Italian surgeons. A retrospective study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of this procedure. Autogenous posterior pharyngeal wall augmentation, using a rolled superiorly based pharyngeal myomucosal flap, was performed on 14 patients, between November of 1989 and June of 1992, who fulfilled two criteria: velopharyngeal dysfunction unresponsive to speech therapy and a small (< 20 percent) coronal gap on velopharyngeal nasendoscopy. Of these, 3 patients had prior prosthetic velopharyngeal management, including 2 patients with Robin sequence. All patients were evaluated preoperatively and 3 months postoperatively with recorded (audio-videotape) perceptual, nasendoscopic, and fluoroscopic standardized speech and airway evaluations. The tapes were used for construction of a randomized master tape that was presented in blinded fashion and random order to three skilled raters for independent assessment of numerous perceptual and instrumental parameters of speech. The raters were uninvolved in the care of the patients or this study, and their intraobserver and interobserver reliabilities were known. Preoperatively, the majority of patients had nasal turbulence. All patients had variable degrees of hypernasality ranging from intermittent to pervasive. Parameters rated included (1) resonance (hypernasality, hyponasality, mixed), (2) auditory nasal emission (including nasal turbulence), and (3) visual characteristics regarding velopharyngeal closure. The visual parameters consisted of questions about whether a pharyngeal bulge was present or absent, descriptions of posterior pharyngeal wall movements with speech, level of closure, completeness of velopharyngeal closure, and quantitative descriptions of the percentage of velopharyngeal closure postoperatively. Examiners were instructed to look for a static and/or dynamic projection or bulge (i.e., Passavant's ridge) and, if a bulge was present, whether the level of velopharyngeal closure was on the same plane as the neoposterior pharyngeal bulge. Results of the extramural judgments of these parameters showed that there was no statistically significant tendency for patients' speech to be rated as more normal after the augmentation procedure than before it. We conclude that (1) autogenous posterior pharyngeal wall augmentation does not result in speech improvement and (2) autogenous posterior pharyngeal wall augmentation does not impair the nasal airway.


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@article{Witt1997SurgicalMO, title={Surgical management of velopharyngeal dysfunction: outcome analysis of autogenous posterior pharyngeal wall augmentation.}, author={Peter D Witt and Thomas G. O'Daniel and Jeffrey L. Marsh and Lynn Marty Grames and Harlan R. Muntz and Thomas K. Pilgram}, journal={Plastic and reconstructive surgery}, year={1997}, volume={99 5}, pages={1287-96; discussion 1297-300} }