Speech, Intraoral Air Pressure, Nasal Airflow- Before and After Pharyngeal Flap Surgery

  • Joanne D. Subtelny
  • Robert F. McCormack
  • John W. Curtin
  • J. Daniel Subtelny
  • Karl S. Musgrave


The fundamental purpose of this study has been to appraise the efficacy of pharyngeal flap surgery. To accomplish this objective, recordings of speech, intraoral air pressure, and nasal airflow were obtained before and after surgery. Cephalometric films were also obtained to study anatomical and physiological features identified with success and failure after surgery. Nlultiple measures of speech were made simply because some speech features are influenced by incompetent palatopharyngeal valving, whereas others are not. Since pharyngeal flap surgery is undertaken to correct incompetence , only those speech features pertinently related to valving should be employed to assess the efficacy of surgery. Additional measures of intraoral air pressure and nasal airflow were obtained to further objectify appraisals of valving and to provide pressure flow data which could be studied relative to specific speech characteristics. The latter aspect of study, involving intercorrelations among pressure, flow, and speech parameters, was undertaken to study the effect of reduced intraoral air pressure and excessive nasal airflow upon communication. Perhaps in the future, measures of intraoral air pressure and/ or nasal airflow may be used to facilitate diagnosis of faulty palatopharyngeal valv-ing and prognosis of deviate valving and distorted pressure flow features relative to communication. This long ranged projection of clinical use ob— Viously requires intensive work to: a) specify palatopharyngeal valving; b) quantitatively define intraoral air pressure and nasal airflow; and 0) re—