In the UK, about 25% of children with repaired clefts need further surgery as they grow up to improve their communication. To help them decide if a person needs surgery, surgeons and SLTs (Speech & Language Therapists) look at how a person's soft palate moves when he or she talks using x-rays and camera pictures. Improvements in technology mean that the complex movements can be seen using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Examples of pictures taken using MRI techniques developed by the research team.

CLEFT has funded research to develop MRI techniques to enable clinicians to see the movement of the soft palate more clearly, and also to take detailed pictures of the muscles that move the soft palate to help surgeons and SLTs make better surgical and treatment decisions.