Plastic Surgeon Questions Cleft Palate

After cleft palate surgery will my daughter be able to speak well?

My daughter is 7 years old and has a cleft palate. We are planning a cleft palate surgery for her. Will her speech get better after the surgery? Are there any things to worry about when undertaking this surgery?

9 Answers

Depending on her situation it is possible she will want to undergo speech therapy. It is important to discuss this with your board certified plastic surgeon who will share pre and post operative expectations with you based on your daughters full medical history.
The answer to this question is simply, yes. She will have a great improvement in her speech. In my experience, the fact that you close that breech between the mouth and the nose, allows for proper phonation and speech becomes clearer with no air hissing sound. These kids are able to eat better and usually they thrive. Concerns? Any surgery brings along potential issues. Nowadays, complications are minimized. The best thing is discuss it with the treating surgeon, who knows the case better. It definitely will be a positive thing for your child. All the best.
She will still be able to speak, and improved. However, the amount of improvement depends on how the muscles that close the back of the oral cavity are functioning. You need to see a craniofacial surgeon.

William A Stefani MD
7 is very late to have the surgery since speech patterns have been learned but with speech therapy she should learn to speak normal
This is ridiculous. All CP patients have pre and post speech therapy.
Thanks for writing.
I am assuming your daughter is part of a multidisciplinary cleft palate team. As you know, she is getting her cleft palate repaired relatively late in age. Repairing the anatomy of the cleft palate will definitely help with nasal air leakage with speech and food coming through the nose. She should continue with her intense speech therapy postop as prescribed by your craniofacial surgeon. All of those together should make your daughter's speech better.
Best of luck, hope that helps.
It will depend in part on what type of repair is done, but generally, yes her speech should improve. If necessary, tissue from the back of her throat and pharynx can be transposed to better close the space between her nasal cavity and the oral cavity.
It is best to do the surgery earlier. At this point, if she needs a cleft palate surgery, she will still need extensive speech therapy to improve her speech because she has developed bad habits.
She needs cleft palate surgery, speech will improve somewhat.