Speech Surgery Clinic

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...

Murthy Ananth
Ananth Murthy, MD, FACS
Director, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Medical Director, Craniofacial Center, and Speech Surgery Clinic

Patel Niyant
Niyant Patel, MD
Craniofacial, Pediatric Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Stone Patricia
Patricia Stone, MA, CCC-SLP
Speech Pathologist

No photo available
Niki-Marie Topougis, LISW-S
Social Work Supervisor, Emergency Department, CARE Center and Outreach



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.


What To Expect

The Akron Children’s Speech Surgery Clinic team uses sophisticated tests to identify the cause of a resonance disorder, including:

  • Nasometer – an instrument that measures acoustic energy from the nasal and oral cavities to provide information regarding velopharyngeal functioning
  • Multiview videofluoroscopy – a video x-ray that examines the structures and functions of the  velopharyngeal opening
  • Nasoendoscopy – a narrow, flexible scope that is inserted through the nose to view how the palate and throat function

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:

  • Pharyngoplasty to reduce the space behind the soft palate, so less air escapes during speech
  • Pharyngeal flap, a procedure where a permanent bridge of tissue is created between the throat and soft palate to reduce nasal air escape
  • Palatal lengthening, a procedure that can be used when the palate is short or the soft palate muscles are not correctly positioned

Following surgery, speech therapy is usually necessary for a child to practice correct articulation and develop good speech habits.

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Speech Surgery Clinic
our locations

Akron Children's Hospital
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Considine Professional Building
215 W. Bowery St., Suite 3300
Akron , OH 44308-1062
Phone: 330-543-4970
Alt. Phone: 330-543-4971
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