Impact of Maxillary Advancement on Speech and Velopharyngeal Function in Patients With Cleft Lip and Palate

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Patients with cleft lip and palate (CLP) and maxillary retrognathia are usually treated with maxillary advancement (Le Fort I osteotomy). The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of maxillary advancement on the velopharyngeal function (VPF) and symptoms of velopharyngeal incompetence in patients with CLP.


Retrospective group study before and after treatment.


All patients who had undergone Le Fort I osteotomy due to maxillary retrognathia from 2007 to 2010 at Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden (n = 13). Pre- and postoperatively standardized examinations were used. Blinded audio recordings were independently assessed by three experienced speech pathologists. Acoustical data (nasometry) and information on VPF (videoradiography and nasoendoscopy) were collected from the medical records. Two patients with additional malformations were considered outliers, and group data were based on a sample size of n = 11.

Main Outcome Measures:

Perceptual and acoustic symptoms of velopharyngeal incompetence and overall assessment of VPF.


No assessment method showed a significant deterioration of the VPF postoperatively. Individual data revealed that 6 of the 13 patients had no or only one symptom pre- and/or postoperatively. The two patients with additional malformations had most symptoms pre- and postoperatively and did not change. Three patients had an increased number of symptoms postoperatively by at least two symptoms. No associations between the outcome and possible prognostic factors were found.


Maxillary advancement did not have a significant impact on the VPF at the group level, but three individuals had a somewhat deteriorated VPF postoperatively.

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