Velopharyngeal Insufficiency (VPI)
The velopharyngeal valve consists of:
- Velum (soft palate)
- Lateral pharyngeal walls (side walls of the throat)
- Posterior pharyngeal wall (the back wall of the throat)
Causes of Velopharyngeal Insufficiency (VPI)
In most cases of velopharyngeal insufficiency, the child is also born with cleft palate. Any child with cleft palate has a 20 to 30 percent chance of having velopharyngeal insufficiency. Rarely, the insufficiency can happen when the adenoids are removed.
Children born with weak throat muscles or who have sustained a traumatic brain injury can acquire velopharyngeal insufficiency.
Features of Velopharyngeal Insufficiency (VPI)
Although common in children with cleft palate, the abnormality may be visible only by having a scope put in the nose to look at the top side of the velum, or soft palate.
This should be used as a guideline. Not every symptom is included. If your child has one or more of these symptoms, it does not mean that he or she has velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI). If you are concerned that your child might have velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI), please make an appointment with your child's doctor.
Treatments for Velopharyngeal Insufficiency (VPI)
However, after surgery, speech therapy will still be necessary to change speech patterns already acquired by your child.
At the Yale Craniofacial Program, we understand that it can be overwhelming when your child has to undergo surgical treatment. That is why we create a treatment plan and review it with you, making sure that you feel comfortable with the procedure and what you can expect.