Revision of pharyngeal flaps causing obstructive airway symptoms: An analysis of treatment with three different techniques over 39 years

Yong Chen Por, Ying Chien Tan, Frank Chun Shin Chang, Philip Kuo Ting Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pharyngeal flaps are used to treat velopharyngeal insufficiency. Occasionally the flap exceeds its intended function and results in an obstructive airway. In this article, the results of management of these cases are analysed. Methods: This is a 39-year retrospective review of patients who had revision of pharyngeal flaps causing obstructive airway symptoms. Three methods of relieving the airway obstruction were used, and the patients were thus separated into three groups, namely group 1 (release and Z-plasty of the lateral ports), group 2 (division of the pharyngeal flap) and group 3 (division of the pharyngeal flap combined with Furlow palatoplasty). The results obtained were based on four parameters: symptomatic improvement, velopharyngeal sufficiency, the presence of re-attachment of the pharyngeal flap and the necessity for re-operation. These results were then pooled into two groups: 'good result' and 'bad result'. The respiratory disturbance index (RDI) was also obtained and analysed separately. Statistical analysis was performed with the Fisher's exact test and the paired t-test in SPSS v.11. Results: A total of 44 patients were included in the study. There were 20, 11 and 13 patients in groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The Pearson's chi-square test indicated that group 3 patients had a statistically significant proportion of 'good results' when compared to groups 1 (p = 0.019) and 2 (p = 0.004). There was a statistically significant reduction in RDI in group 3 (p = 0.003). There was no statistically significant difference between the groups 1 and 2. Conclusions: Division of a pharyngeal flap for obstructive airway complications should be accompanied by a Furlow palatoplasty to reduce the myriad complications that arise from either a release + Z-plasty or a simple division of the pharyngeal flap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)930-933
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Furlow palatoplasty
  • Obstructive airway
  • Pharyngeal flap revision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Revision of pharyngeal flaps causing obstructive airway symptoms: An analysis of treatment with three different techniques over 39 years'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this