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Seven patients who received pharyngeal flaps for velopharyngeal incompetence (VPI) were studied to assess the effect of the procedure on nasal airway size. The findings suggest that the pharyngeal flap does not significantly decrease the upper airway in all patients. The effect of the flap did not correlate with the type of cleft, and was most pronounced in the inspiratory phase of the breathing cycle. Reasons for this variable effect, assumed to be related to an already impaired nasal airway in most cleft patients, are discussed.