Comparison of outcomes of velopharyngeal surgery between the inferiorly and superiorly based pharyngeal flaps

Kachin Wattanawong, Ying Chien Tan, Lun Jou Lo, Philip K.T. Chen, Yu Ray Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pharyngeal flaps have been widely used for the correction of velopharyngeal incompetence. The aim of this study was to compare the outcomes of velopharyngeal surgery between those who received the superiorly and inferiorly based pharyngeal flaps. Methods: A retrospective review of medical records of patients with cleft palates who received pharyngeal flap surgery for the correction of velopharyngeal incompetence at one craniofacial center was performed. The superiorly based flaps were elevated and inset using the fish-mouth method. The inferiorly based flaps were sutured to the soft palate where a distally based mucosa flap was turned over to cover the raw surface of the flap pedicle. The velopharyngeal functions were categorized as adequate, marginal, or inadequate. Complications associated with the operation were documented. Statistical comparisons between the two groups were made. Results: There were 65 patients in each group. No statistically significant differences were found for sex distribution and age at operation. The outcomes of the velopharyngeal surgery were better in the group of patients who received the inferiorly based pharyngeal flaps (p = 0.030). The complications were not significantly different between the two groups, and were all relatively mild. Conclusion: The inferiorly based pharyngeal flap was more effective than the superiorly based pharyngeal flap for the correction of velopharyngeal incompetence. A probable explanation may be the fibrotic changes and scar contracture occurring in the pedicle of the superiorly based pharyngeal flap that may have impaired the velopharyngeal closure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-436
Number of pages7
JournalChang Gung Medical Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2007
Externally publishedYes



  • Cleft palate
  • Inferior base
  • Pharyngeal flap
  • Superior base
  • Velopharyngeal insufficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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