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/assets/MEE/images/mgb-default-thumb.png Velopharyngeal Insufficiency

Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

Velopharyngeal Insufficiency

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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.

4Common Symptoms

  • 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.

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We bring together physicians, speech-language pathologists, and other healthcare professionals to provide treatment to patients suffering from breathing troubles.

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