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be iNFormed NF1 and Velopharyngeal Insufficiency

One study found VPI to occur in 7.4% to 52% of patients with NF1.

NF1 and Velopharyngeal Insufficiency

Velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) is a resonance disorder that occurs during speech that results from the inability of the vellum (or soft palate) to meet with the nasopharynx (or the back of the throat).  When a person has VPI, there is an incomplete closure between the velum and nasopharynx, forcing sound into the nasal cavity. VPI results in nasal sounding speech qualities called hypernasality and nasal air emission

One of the most common causes of VPI is cleft palate. Other causes of VPI include differences in the tonsils and adenoids, oral cavity tumors, or deficits that take place after surgery or head injury

Research has shown that individuals with NF1 may have hypernasality and/or VPI. One study found VPI to occur in 7.4% to 52% of patients with NF1. The exact cause of hypernasality and/or VPI in individuals with NF1 is unknown.

If determined that the speech disorder is due to VPI, an otolaryngologist, speech-language pathologist, and/or plastic surgeon may decide on treatment options in conjunction with the patient.

Thank you Kimberly Marrs, B.S., & Heather Thompson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP for contributing this article!

NF Midwest develops “Be iNFormed” articles on various complications and subjects with regard to neurofibromatosis. These articles are written specifically for the NF community without a lot of scientific jargon and with the information that we believe the patient and affected families want and need. We are also careful to have them written and endorsed by experts so that they can be shared with other doctors and seen as a respectable source of information. To find other articles go to nfmidwest.org/beinformed or for a more comprehensive list of resources to nfmidwest.org/learn.

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