Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
Velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) is an inability to effectively seal the nose from the mouth during speech. Children with VPI often speak in a very nasal tone, such that, with certain sounds, air will leak from the nose, making the words hard to understand.
Adults can develop VPI after neurological problems (like strokes), previous surgery to the palate, or radiation treatment of the neck.
- Nasal tone when speaking
- Problems with verbal communication
- Structural issues associated with the palate or throat
- Food entering the nose when swallowing
Diagnosis and Treatment
Because of a wide range of causes, approaches to diagnosis and treatment may vary and are often tailored to the individual child or adult. Formal diagnosis is usually obtained by nasometry and videofluoroscopy. In some cases, an endoscope is passed through the nose and used to examine the back of the nose and palate during speech. In general, some children have problems with their anatomy that may require surgery first, while other children have problems with function that may benefit from a special form of voice therapy. Overall, most children will have some form of special speech therapy for this condition.
Meet Our Team
We bring together physicians, speech-language pathologists, and other healthcare professionals to provide treatment to patients suffering from breathing troubles.
Did you know?
Velopharyngeal insufficiency occurs for a variety of reasons, from problems with the soft palate that children are born with to children who have had surgical repair of a cleft palate.
We are actively recruiting children with VPI, 22Q anomalies and midline carotid arteries to characterize the success of a new surgical technique. We are also recruiting children with VPI to assess the role of real-time MRI imaging to help us best choose between the various surgical options and achieve better vocal outcomes. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.