Trying to improve the quality of the surgery by understanding what the muscles of the soft palate do: A study of the muscles of the soft palate.
Research in the UK has shown that across the country about 25% of children having repair of cleft palate require further surgery because the palate is not long enough and/or mobile enough to close off the palate against the back of the throat. This means that air escapes during speech and children often develop abnormal speech patterns as they try to compensate. The North Thames Cleft team has pioneered the use of the operating microscope for cleft palate repair and has improved on these results but there is still progress to be made. There are many gaps in our knowledge of the anatomy and function of the soft palate muscles.
Research funded by CLEFT is looking at the anatomy and function of the soft palate muscles. This involves anatomical dissections and a microscopic study of the muscles of the palate. Dr. Rimante Seselgyte is working with Professor Phil Stanier and Dr. Erwin Pauws, studying the muscles in mice with symptoms that produces conditions like cleft palate.
This project has the potential to improve the quality of results following palate repair in our own centre and with the resulting information being passed on to centres around the world.