This research project is aiming to improve the results of cleft palate surgery on the muscles of the soft palate. The soft palate plays a very important role in speech - the muscles in it need to lift the palate to close against the back of the throat to make almost all the sounds in speech.

There are four muscles in the soft palate but we don't fully understand how they all work together. When clefts are repaired the surgeon has to reposition and join four muscles and scar tissue is formed.

CLEFT is supporting research to learn more about soft palate muscle fibres with the aim of refining surgical techniques to improve the outcome of repairs. This should result in better speech outcomes for the children treated and reduce the need for further painful surgery.