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Objective: To evaluate the speech outcomes after primary cleft palate repair in a single tertiary medical institution of Thailand.
Materials and Methods: A prospective cohort study was performed. Patients who had cleft palate with/without cleft lip and underwent primary cleft palate repair were included. Speech assessment was performed using the Pittsburgh weighted speech score (PWSS) by a speech-language pathologist.
Results: Forty patients (21 males and 19 females) who underwent primary cleft palate repair at Siriraj Hospital were included. The median age at the time of speech evaluation was 7 years. The median age at primary cleft palate surgery was 12 months. The predominant cleft palate type was Veau 3 (47.5%). Oronasal fistula occurred 40%. Two-flap palatoplasty and intravelar veloplasty were the most common procedures. Median PWSS was 7, in which the competence velopharyngeal mechanism was found 5%, borderline competence 10%, borderline incompetence 32.5%, and incompetence velopharyngeal mechanism 52.5%. Among the velopharyngeal incompetence group, articulation disorder was the most common disorder with median score of 3. Besides, the median scores for hypo/hyper-nasality, nasal emission, phonation, and facial grimace disorder were 1, 2, 0 and 0, respectively. There was no statistically significant association between velopharyngeal incompetence and cleft types, age at primary surgery, type of operation, the width of cleft palate and prevalence of postoperative oronasal fistula or otitis media effusion.
Conclusion: Velopharyngeal incompetence has been commonly identified after cleft palate repair in our institute. The articulation disorder is the most common characteristic.
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