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Volume 22 , Issue 6
November/December 2009

Pages 566–572

Surgical Reconstruction Versus Prosthetic Obturation of Extensive Soft Palate Defects: A Comparison of Speech Outcomes

Jana Rieger, PhD/George Bohle III, DDS/Joseph Huryn, DDS/Judith Lam Tang, MSc/Jeffrey Harris, MD, FRCSC/Hadi Seikaly, MD, FRCSC

PMID: 19918590

Purpose: The restoration of speech after an extensive resection of the soft palate has been a challenge faced by both prosthodontists and surgeons. Few comparisons between prosthetic rehabilitations and surgical reconstructions of large soft palate defects exist in equally matched groups of patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate speech outcomes in patients with soft palate defects that were rehabilitated with either a pharyngeal obturator or surgical reconstruction. Materials and Methods: Nine patients who were treated via prosthetic obturation were compared to nine patients who underwent surgical reconstruction of the oropharynx with a radial forearm free flap and a soft palate insufficiency repair modification. Speech intelligibility data, perceptual ratings of resonance, and aeromechanical measurements of velopharyngeal function were collected. Results: There were no differences in any of the speech outcome measures between the two groups of patients. Conclusion: Future studies should focus on the patient’s perspective on rehabilitative options and potential quality of life issues. Int J Prosthodont 2009;22:566–572.

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