REGENERATIVE APPROACH TO VELOPHARYNGEAL INCOMPETENCE BY FAT INJECTION

The images show some steps of adipose tissue refinement, before injection in the velopharyngeal sphincter

Fat injection has currently gained a paramount role in plastic and reconstructive surgery; it is recognized as an established regenerative procedure which has taken the place of several major reconstructive procedures.

Velopharyngeal incompetence of mild or moderate grade is a good indication  for this “regenerative” approach mediated by stem cells and growth factors. Velopharyngeal incompetence is mainly encountered in patients previously operated for cleft palate, who have an hypernasal speech in spite of  voice rehabilitation,  as they are not able to achieve closure of the soft palate towards the pharyngeal walls,  due to a short and scarred soft palate.

The operation is mini-invasive and can be repeated if the result obtained by a single procedure is suboptimal. It minimizes the risk of sleep apnea which is much more relevant with major surgical procedures known as pharyngoplasties. Aim of the procedure is to improve volume and elasticity of the velopharyngeal sphincter to enhance its closure during speech articulation.