Single-Stage Repair of Palatal Fistula and Velopharyngeal Incompetence by the New L Flap

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To describe and assess the results of use of the new L-shaped posterior pharyngeal flap for repair of both palatal fistula and velopharyngeal incompetence.


This study included 10 patients who were diagnosed to have soft palate fistula and persistent velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI). L-shaped superiorly based pharyngeal flap was harvested from oropharynx and inserted into the soft palate closing the fistula after fistula trimming. The palatal part of the flap (transverse limb) was spread 1 cm horizontally and 1 cm in the anteroposterior direction in soft palate at fistula site closing it without tension. Prior to and after surgery, patients were assessed by examination, video-nasoendoscopy, and speech assessment.


Closure of the palatal fistula could be achieved in all patients. Postoperative speech assessment showed significant improvement in the nasal emission, resonance, intraoral pressure, and articulation defects. Grade 4 velopharyngeal valve closure (complete closure) could be achieved in all patients. No patients showed dehiscence (partial or total) of the flap and no obstructive sleep apnea reported.


The new used L-shaped pharyngeal flap could properly close palatal fistula and correct velopharyngeal functions (closure and speech) in patients with persistent VPI with no reported significant complication and without the need for palatal dissection or flaps.

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