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Velopharyngeal insufficiency in patients without a cleft palate: important considerations for the ENT surgeon

  • E Mushi (a1), N Mahdi (a2), N Upile (a3), C Hevican (a4), S McKernon (a5), S van Eeden (a6) and S De (a7)...



Velopharyngeal insufficiency is the inability to close the velopharyngeal port during speech and swallowing, leading to hypernasal speech and food regurgitation.


This study aimed to explore the aetiological factors contributing to the development of velopharyngeal insufficiency in a non-cleft paediatric population, especially following adenoidectomy.


A retrospective case review was conducted of all children without a known cleft palate, born between 2000 and 2013, who were referred to a tertiary cleft centre with possible velopharyngeal insufficiency.


The data for 139 children diagnosed with velopharyngeal insufficiency following referral to the cleft centre were analysed. Thirteen patients developed the condition following adenoidectomy; only 3 of these 13 had a contributing aetiological factor.


Velopharyngeal insufficiency is a rare but significant complication of adenoidectomy. The majority of patients who developed velopharyngeal insufficiency following adenoidectomy did not have an identifiable predisposing factor. This has important implications for the consent process and when planning adenoidectomy.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Ms Eriola Mushi, Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery Department, University Hospital Aintree, Lower Lane, LiverpoolL9 7AL, UK E-mail:


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Ms E Mushi takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper

This work was presented: as a poster at the 15th British Academic Conference in Otolaryngology, 8–10 July 2015, Liverpool, UK, orally at the British Association of Paediatric Otolaryngology annual meeting, 18 September 2015, Dublin, Ireland, and orally at the European Society of Paediatric Otolaryngologists Congress, 18–21 June 2016, Lisbon, Portugal.



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Velopharyngeal insufficiency in patients without a cleft palate: important considerations for the ENT surgeon

  • E Mushi (a1), N Mahdi (a2), N Upile (a3), C Hevican (a4), S McKernon (a5), S van Eeden (a6) and S De (a7)...


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