Nasendoscopy is an essential tool in assessing the dynamic function and structure of the velopharyngeal sphincter during speech and swallowing.
Flexible fibre-optic nasendoscopy has been used by the cleft palate team at Withington Hospital, Manchester since 1989. Seventy-six patients were referred between 1989 and 1994 for evaluation of velopharyngeal function during speech. Flexible nasendoscopic evaluation was attempted in 50 patients, and successfully carried out in 43 patients. The age range was four years to 77 years (mean 21 years). The patients were divided into two groups: Group 1 consisting of patients with cleft palate and Group 2 comprised of patients with non-overt cleft palate-related velopharyngeal dysfunction of various aetiologies; such as, submucous cleft, post-tonsillectomy, post-adenoidectomy, neurological and post-traumatic.
Based on the findings on nasendoscopy, videofluoroscopy and clinical speech/voice analysis the following treatment options were recommended: 17 (40 per cent) for pharyngoplasty, five (11 per cent) for revision pharyngoplasty, 15 (35 per cent) for speech therapy, four for an obturator and one for tonsillectomy. Two previously undetected submucous clefts were diagnosed.