AlloDerm revision for failed pharyngoplasty.
ABSTRACT Velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) occurs in more than 20% of patients with a cleft palate after primary palatoplasty. Surgical treatment focuses on pharyngoplasty to narrow the nasopharyngeal space and to decrease the distance needed for palatal closure. Persistent VPI after pharyngoplasty affects more than 20% of patients.From September 2007 to December 2009, 16 children (10 boys and 6 girls) with a mean age of 9.5 years (4-15 years) underwent surgical revision using an AlloDerm sling for persistent VPI after at least 1 previous failed pharyngoplasty. Ten children had previous sphincter pharyngoplasties, and 6 had previous pharyngeal flaps. Surgical technique involves creation of a submucosal tunnel through the limbs of the previous pharyngoplasty or pharyngeal flap. A strip of AlloDerm is threaded circumferentially, and the port is adjusted to the desired aperture.All patients underwent preoperative and postoperative analysis of VPI, including oral pharyngeal and perceptual speech examination by speech pathology with a mean follow-up of 441 days. Acoustic nasometry was used to objectively compare preoperative and postoperative nasalance values. A significant improvement in perceptual resonance was seen in 93.8% of patients, and 87.5% of patients improved to normal or mild resonance (P < 0.001). There was a significant mean reduction of nasalance using the MacKay-Kummer Simplified Nasometric Assessment Procedure test (P < 0.001). Two patients developed postoperative flap dehiscence, with one being revised ultimately to have normal speech resonance.Revision pharyngoplasty using an AlloDerm sling can safely and effectively improve speech in patients with persistent VPI after failed pharyngoplasty. Long-term follow-up studies are ongoing.