The Akron Children's Hospital Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Center offers a Speech Surgery Clinic to evaluate and treat resonance disorders in children. Read More...
The Akron Children’s Hospital Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Center offers a Speech Surgery Clinic to evaluate and treat resonance disorders in children. Resonance refers to the way air flows through the nose and mouth cavities during speech. Resonance disorders occur when there is an opening, inconsistent movement or obstruction that changes the way air flows through the mouth and nose during speech. They can be caused by velopharyngeal incompetence (VPI).
VPI occurs when the opening between the soft palate and the pharynx doesn’t close properly during speech. Without closure, air escapes through the nose. The terms velopharyngeal insufficiency or velopharyngeal dysfunction can also be used to describe this problem. Some children born with a cleft palate will develop VPI due to the mobility or length of the palate.
The Akron Children’s Speech Surgery Clinic team uses sophisticated tests to identify the cause of a resonance disorder, including:
When resonance disorders are severe, surgery may be needed to correct the problem. The cause of VPI will determine the best surgical approach. Our plastic/reconstructive surgeon and speech pathologist will consider this and factors such as the size of the velopharyngeal gap, length of the soft palate, mobility of the soft palate and pharyngeal walls, and other anatomical features of the palate and throat. A specific treatment plan is developed for each patient.
Surgical options include:
Following surgery, speech therapy is usually necessary for a child to practice correct articulation and develop good speech habits.
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