What are the consequences of cleft palate repair done incorrectly?
This is a very common question asked by a lot of patients and their relatives to Dr. Sunil Richardson at Richardsons Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, South India.
A precise perfect surgery by a competent experienced surgeon in a craniofacial team is best way to get ‘normal’ speech in more than 95 percent of patients.
How to recognise improper surgery?
The easiest way is to look inside the palate of the patient. See if looks and moves and behaves like a person’s palate who doesn’t have a cleft palate. For example, there should be no holes in the palate. If there is a hole, however tiny it maybe , it will prevent the patient from developing clear intelligible speech.
If at all there is a hole, it needs to fixed ASAP.
If there is no uvula?
This is also not a good situation and in most cases needs some redo or revision surgery. If the soft palate doesn’t move.
This is again because of improper muscle repair in the primary surgery and needs to be fixed. Lateral flouro videoscopy and cone Beam ct scans would be needed to evaluate the defective reconstruction before planning to reconstruct.
Dr Sunil Richardson and his team have performed over 1000 cleft palate revision surgeries in the last decade and a half on patients who have had cleft palate repairs elsewhere and who didn’t have “normal’ speech.
All patients have had their speech improved significantly after treatment at Richardsons- although some may not be 100 percent. A good percentage of them later need speech therapy sessions as well.