Speech-aid prostheses for neurogenic velopharyngeal incompetence

Arie Shifman*, Yehuda Finkelstein, Ariela Nachmani, Dov Ophir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Statement Of Problem. When surgical treatment is not considered an option, prosthetic management of velopharyngeal insufficiency is carried out by means of a speech-aid prosthesis, whereas velopharyngeal incompetence is traditionally managed by a palatal lift prosthesis. Varying degrees of treatment success have been attributed to palatal lift prostheses. Purpose. This study introduces the use of nasopharyngeal obturation instead of palatal elevation for the management of velopharyngeal incompetence. Methods. Seven patients afflicted by neurogenic velopharyngeal incompetence were treated with wire-extension speech-aid prostheses constructed to circumvent the dysfunctional soft palate. The shape of the nasopharyngeal section was functionally molded in speech and swallowing and controlled by video-nasopharyngoscopic examinations. Results. Effective nasopharyngeal obturation with notable improved speech was achieved in all patients. Even though all patients ultimately tolerated the prostheses well, 2 patients denied any improvement in speech with the finalized prostheses. Conclusion. Wire-extension speech-aid prostheses used by the patients were an effective treatment approach for velopharyngeal incompetence. Nasopharyngoscopic control is mandatory for maximizing the effect of velopharyngeal closure around the nasopharyngeal section of the prosthesis in function, yet it allows free nasal breathing. Velopharyngeally incompetent patients should be carefully tailored for prosthetic treatment because of contingent noncompliance. (J Prosthet Dent 2000;83:99-106.).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


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