There is a small group of children who, after their initial palate repair, will still need additional surgery to improve their ability to speak clearly. The cleft palate is ideally repaired before the child's first birthday, so that the child has the opportunity to learn and develop normal speech sound production. As the child grows and uses more speech, we are able to discover the true function of the repaired palate. Our speech-language pathologist specializes in treating children born with cleft lip and palate, and can help in determine whether your child may need surgery to improve the function of the palate.
Besides carefully listening to your child speak, we can use special equipment that allows us to look at how the palate moves with a small camera. This equipment is called nasoendoscopy. The type of surgery needed to improve speech is determined based on what the camera sees. This type of surgery is called velopharyngeal surgery. There are two basic types of velopharyngeal surgery:
- Pharyngeal Flap