Simultaneous Superiorly Based Pharyngeal Flap and Tonsillectomy: Evaluation of Speech and Pain Outcomes

Heidi H. Hon, Devin Deluna, Haris M. Akhter, Paul J. Brosnihan, Kaeli Samson, Jennifer Diaz, Jason J. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


AbstractControversy remains whether to perform a pharyngeal flap simultaneously with a tonsillectomy in patients with velopharyngeal insufficiency. The aim of this study is to revisit the speech outcomes and complications associated with the combined superiorly based pharyngeal flap and tonsillectomy procedure, while comparing pain outcomes. We hypothesize that the combined procedure will improve speech outcomes with minimal complications, but patients will experience more pain in the combined procedure.A 5-year retrospective review of registry data from Boys Town National Research Hospital was conducted from 2014 to 2019. Data collection included age, surgeries performed, length of stay, pain medication administration occurrences, immediate postoperative complications, postoperative speech outcomes specifically related to articulation (audible nasal airway emissions) and resonance (hypernasality).Eighty-eight patients had a superiorly based pharyngeal flap over this 5-year period. Eighteen patients (20%) had a simultaneous procedure performed. There were no patients who had immediate postoperative complications such as upper airway obstruction or bleeding complications that necessitated a reoperation. One of the patients had a pharyngeal flap dehiscence that required a revision pharyngeal flap in the combined group. Nasal airway emissions and hypernasality were eliminated in 58.3% and 75%of the combined patients, respectively. The total number of narcotic administration occurrences were significantly higher in the combined group than the pharyngeal flap only group (9.0 versus 7.0; P=0.03).A number of velopharyngeal patients will present with hypertrophied tonsils. We believe that it is safe and beneficial to perform the combined procedure in the same setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-511
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Audible airway emissions
  • hypernasality
  • pharyngeal flap
  • tonsillectomy
  • velopharyngeal insufficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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