Author(s): Robrecht J.H. Logjes, Maaike TA. van den Aardweg, Meike M.J. Blezer, Anne M.B. van der Heul, Corstiaan C. Breugem
PurposeVelopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) is common (20−30%) after cleft palate closure. The myomucosal buccinator flap has become an important treatment option for velopharyngeal insufficiency; however, published studies all use bilateral buccinator flaps. This study assesses outcomes with a unilateral myomucosal buccinator flap that might result in less operating time and might prevent the need of a bite block and an extra procedure for division of the flap pedicle at a later stage.Materials and MethodsForty-two consecutive patients who underwent a unilateral myomucosal buccinator flap procedure were retrospectively reviewed. Overall clinical judgment of speech, speech analysis, and velopharyngeal closure were evaluated by a multidisciplinary cleft palate team.ResultsMedian follow-up was 1.2 years. In 83% of patients, overall clinical judgment of optimal speech was obtained and thus no further velopharyngeal surgery was necessary. In 7 patients, further surgery was necessary, of whom 57% (4/7) had bilateral cleft lip−palate. Mean level of intelligibility improved significantly as evaluated by speech pathologists (2.5±0.9 vs 3.5±0.9; P< 0.0001) and by parents (2.1±0.9 vs 3.2±0.7; P< 0.0001). Mean level of resonance improved significantly (0.7±0.9 vs 2.0±1.0; P0.0001), and velopharyngeal closure improved in 83% postoperatively.ConclusionThe unilateral myomucosal buccinator flap seems to be an effective and safe procedure and should become part of the armamentarium of cleft surgeons.