Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery
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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 145--154

Autologous fat grafting in the treatment of velopharyngeal insufficiency: Clinical outcomes and treatment tolerability survey in a case series of 21 patients


1 Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, SS. Antonio e Biagio e Cesare Arrigo Hospital, Alessandria, Italy
2 Department of Pediatric Surgery, SS. Antonio e Biagio e Cesare Arrigo Hospital, Alessandria, Italy
3 Department of Operating Theatre Management, SS. Antonio e Biagio e Cesare Arrigo Hospital, Alessandria, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Enrico Maria Zingarelli
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, SS. Antonio e Biagio e Cesare Arrigo Hospital, Via Venezia 16, 15121, Alessandria
Italy
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijps.IJPS_183_17

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Introduction: Velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) is the inability to close the velopharyngeal sphincter during phonation and/or feeding. VPI is clinically characterised by hypernasal speech and nasal regurgitation. In cases of severe VPI, pharyngoplasty is recommended. Cases of mild-to-moderate VPI can be treated with fat grafting of the posterior pharyngeal wall in addition to speech therapy. The lipofilling can also be useful after pharyngoplasty to improve the outcomes. Materials and Methods: Twenty-one patients (14 males and 7 females), ages 4–23 affected by mild-to-moderate VPI and treated with lipofilling were included in this retrospective study. The mean injected fat volume was 7.95 cc (median 6 cc, min 4 cc, max 20 cc and range 16 cc). The follow-up ranged from 6 to 60 months. The pre- and post-operative Borel–Maisonny scores were compared using Wilcoxon test. Moreover, we performed a telephone survey with the aim to assess the parental perception on child's speech and quality of life after the surgical treatment. Results: Despite the small sample size, in this case series, we observed a statistically significant Borel–Maisonny score improvement and a parental satisfaction rate of about 85%. Conclusions: The augmentation of the posterior pharyngeal wall in addition to speech therapy improved the Borel–Maisonny score and the intelligibility of this case series of patients affected by mild-to-moderate VPI. In these patients, evaluated in a multidisciplinary approach, this technique allowed us to avoid major surgical procedures that would modify the anatomy of the velopharyngeal port. However, prospective comparative studies or randomised controlled trials could be useful to compare fat grafting with velopharyngoplasty techniques, with the aim to clarify indications and to define a specific treatment protocol.






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