You'll find hundreds of files on cleft lip, cleft palate here on

This one is about: What is a Sphincter Pharyngeoplasty?

(c) 1997 Wide Smiles
This Document is from WideSmiles Website -
Reprint in whole or in part, with out written permission from Wide Smiles
is prohibited. Email:

What is a Sphincter Pharyngeoplasty?

A parent writes:

I don't believe my PS plans on doing either a pharyngeal flap or a Z flap. He talked about a fairly new procedure ("to our area"). I am not sure of the name of the procedure but I believe it contains the word "sphincter". Do you or anyone else know what he might be talking about. He is a great surgeon but my wife does not like his bedside manner. This inhibits the level of questioning we put him through.


This procedure is called a Sphincter Pharyngeoplasty. They create a type of sphincter at the back of the throat by detaching, turning and reattaching mucosa in such a way as to give the child a structure she can use then to close off the extra space when talking.

Yes, it is a fairly new procedure. As far as whether it is the "best" is a matter of great debate -- but it is accepted and performed by a lot of teams. I think the bottom line is that EACH of the optional speech-related surgeries is the BEST for certain and specific children.

A pharyngeoplasty is a speech-related surgery in which the mucousal tissues of the pharynx are detached, twisted around, and re-attached in such a way as to create a sphincter-type structure that will allow Scotty the chance to get the closure he needs in the back of the throat. It is also called a Sphincter Pharyngeoplasty.

There are two other commonly used speech-related surgeries. Those are the Pharyngeal flap (a ledge is created between the soft palate and the back of the throat to close off the extra space) or a Double-Reversing Z-Plasty (or Furlow) in which the palate itself is made longer and more flexible the using a Z-plasty repair.

The surgery that Scotty is having today is gaining in popularity as a surgical procedure for the type of speech problem Scott has had.

Wide Smiles depends on donations to continue to provide this resource for you.
Please help keep us online!

Cleft Links | Wide Smiles | Photo Gallery