A Preliminary Study on the Characteristics of the Velopharyngeal Structures in Different-Age Patients With Cleft Palate

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the developmental tendency of velopharyngeal structures in different-age patients with cleft palate (CP) to provide reference for selecting surgery in clinic. The investigators implemented a retrospective study, and 66 patients were selected, including 38 boys and 28 girls (average age, 15 years 5 months ± 7 years). These patients were divided into 3 groups (G1, G2, and G3) according to their ages and were taken lateral preoperative cephalograms at rest and during phonation of /i/. Twelve lengths and 3 ratios variables were defined in this study. All these measurements were analyzed by analysis of variance and post hoc test, whereas P value was set at 0.05. There were significant differences of velar thickness and height, vertical velar length, pharyngeal height and depth, uvular pharyngeal depth, and hard palate length and height. Except velar height and vertical velar length of which the differences were only significant between G1 and G2, the difference of the others was significant between G1 and G2, and G1 and G3. In conclusion, velar thickness and posterior velar length increased significantly before 20 years old, whereas the motility of velar muscles between 12 years old and 20 years old was weaker. Growths of maxilla in vertical and horizontal dimension were faster before 20 years old. Besides, height-depth ratio was increasing with increase in age.

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