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Speech outcomes of early palatal repair with or without intravelar veloplasty in children with complete unilateral cleft lip and palate

British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
DOI: 10.1016/j.bjoms.2013.04.016
  • Cleft Lip
  • Cleft Palate
  • Speech
  • Surgical Technique
  • Intravelar Veloplasty


Abstract We compared the early speech outcomes of 40 consecutive children with complete unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP) who had been treated according to different 2-stage protocols: the Malek protocol (soft palate closure without intravelar veloplasty at 3 months; lip and hard palate repair at 6 months) (n=20), and the Talmant protocol (cheilorhinoplasty and soft palate repair with intravelar veloplasty at 6 months; hard palate closure at 18 months) (n=20). We compared the speech assessments obtained at a mean (SD) age of 3.3 (0.35) years after treatment by the same surgeon. The main outcome measures evaluated were acquisition and intelligibility of speech, velopharyngeal insufficiency, and incidence of complications. A delay in speech articulation of one year or more was seen more often in patients treated by the Malek protocol (11/20) than in those treated according to the Talmant protocol (3/20, p=0.019). Good intelligibility was noted in 15/20 in the Talmant group compared with 6/20 in the Malek group (p=0.010). Assessment with an aerophonoscope showed that nasal air emission was most pronounced in patients in the Malek group (p=0.007). Velopharyngeal insufficiency was present in 11/20 in the Malek group, and in 3/20 in the Talmant group (p=0.019). No patients in the Talmant group had an oronasal fistula (p<0.001). All other outcomes were similar. Despite later closure of the soft and hard palate, early speech outcomes were better in the Talmant group because intravelar veloplasty was successful and there were no fistulas after closure of the hard palate in 2 layers.

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