Outcome of palate re-repair with radical repositioning of the levator muscle sling as a First-Line strategy in postpalatoplasty velopharyngeal incompetence management protocol

Academic Article


  • Background: Palatal re-repair aims to improve velar function by retroposition-ing the levator muscles. Although it has become a popular procedure, very few studies document its efficacy. To date, this is the largest series reported to clarify its indications and efficacy. Methods: One hundred eighty-three consecutive cleft patients presenting with velopharyngeal incompetence and evidence of abnormally oriented levator muscles underwent palate re-repair (regardless of the gap size) performed by a single surgeon from 2000 to 2015. Perceptual speech assessment was performed using the Pittsburgh Weighted Speech Score. Other patients’ demographic data were collected. Results: Complete records of 111 patients were available. Eighteen cases were syndromic (18.9 percent). Postoperatively, there was highly significant improvement (p < 0.001) in nasal emission (from 2.24 to 0.64), nasality (from 3.44 to 1.27), articulation (from 5.32 to 2.01), and total score (from 11.29 to 4.11). Speech became normal/borderline normal, improved or did not improve in 66.7, 24.3, and 9 percent of patients, respectively. An initial diagnosis of isolated cleft palate, Caucasians, intravelar veloplasty in the primary repair, older patients, and nonsyndromic cases were associated with better outcome. There were no reported cases of postoperative fistula or new obstructive sleep apnea. Conclusions: This large series study provides confirmatory evidence of the effectiveness and safety of the re-repair procedure. It is recommended as a first-line procedure in all velopharyngeal incompetence cases with abnormally oriented levator muscles regardless of gap size, even if the primary operation included prior muscle dissection. The pharyngoplasty rate could be significantly reduced with the current protocol.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Elsherbiny A; Amerson M; Sconyers L; Grant JH
  • Start Page

  • 984
  • End Page

  • 991
  • Volume

  • 141
  • Issue

  • 4