Repeat Double-Opposing Z-Plasty for the Management of Persistent Velopharyngeal Insufficiency

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Abstract

Background

Persistent velopharyngeal insufficiency occurrence after double-opposing Z-plasty has been treated with either posterior pharyngeal flap or sphincteroplasty. Both these methods can be accompanied by mild discomfort, such as mouth breathing and hyponasal resonance, and can lead to severe complications, such as sleep apnea and upper airway compromise. The purpose of this study was to review the efficacy of repeat double-opposing Z-plasty for the management of persistent velopharyngeal insufficiency in patients who received a prior surgical intervention by double-opposing Z-plasty.

Methods

All patients who were treated by repeat double-opposing Z-plasty between January 2000 and December 2014 were reviewed. Patient demographics, cleft type, surgical technique, and complications, such as wound dehiscence, infection, fistula, and upper airway obstruction, were evaluated. Preoperative and postoperative speech evaluations were reviewed for comparison.

Results

Fourteen patients underwent repeat double-opposing Z-plasty, with an average follow-up of 34 months. There was no complication including wound dehiscence, flap necrosis, fistula, or upper airway compromise. Velopharyngeal competence (resonance, nasal emission, intraoral pressure, social/personal problems) was significantly improved postoperatively (P < 0.05). Only 1 patient required posterior pharyngeal flap for persistent velopharyngeal insufficiency.

Conclusions

Repeat double-opposing Z-plasty is an effective and safe surgical strategy for the management of persistent velopharyngeal insufficiency, in patients who received a prior surgical intervention by double-opposing Z-plasty. This strategy allows speech improvement and reduces the risk of postoperative upper airway compromise.

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