J Korean Cleft Palate-Craniofac Assoc.  2010 Oct;11(2):73-76.

Post-operative Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy in Velopharyngeal Insufficiency Patient

  • 1Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Ulsan, College of Medicine, Korea. psbear@empas.com
  • 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Ulsan, College of Medicine, Korea.
  • 3Division of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Hallym University, Korea.
  • 4Department of Plastic Surgery, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Korea.


There are several surgical methods for correcting a velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) but in some cases, it is not possible to achieve complete recovery of the velopharyngeal function. This paper introduces a new therapy for treating hypernasality without further surgery using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
CPAP therapy was applied to seven VPI patients for eight weeks from April of 2007 to September of 2009. All patients underwent palatoplasty for the cleft palate and six patients underwent palatal lengthening for VPI before CPAP therapy. A speech pathologist performed an auditory perceptual evaluation to evaluate the improvement in hypernasality after 8-week CPAP therapy.
Six patients showed an improvement in hypernasality after CPAP therapy according to the auditory perceptual evaluation. One patient with severe hypernasality responded to the early part of therapy but the hypernasality did not improve after therapy.
CPAP therapy might be effective in reducing the hypernasality in patients with VPI by providing resistance training to strengthen the velopharyngeal closure muscles. In particular, CPAP therapy could be more effective for patients who show mild to moderate hypernasality after surgery.


Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP); Hypernasality; Velopharyngeal insufficiency
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