Can A Surgical Procedure Cure Your Child's Speech Impediment?

Health & Medical Blog

If you or your child have struggled with a speech impediment that sometimes makes it tough for others to understand what you're saying, you may be wondering whether your only option is weeks, months, or even years of speech therapy. While this therapy can often be effective, it requires a tremendous commitment of time and effort that, for children, may interfere with other schoolwork, and for adults, can seriously cut into working time. 

In some cases, a surgical procedure may be able to correct what years of speech therapy hasn't. Investigating these options before you begin speech therapy in earnest can give you a better idea of how to proceed. Read on to learn more about three different types of surgery that can correct speech issues.

1) Tongue-tie release surgery 

Children who have a "tongue tie" have a shorter flap of skin and connective tissue to hold the underside of the tongue to the bottom of the jaw. Many mild tongue ties aren't noticeable and won't interfere with feeding or latching, but may still cause speech problems in the future. If a speech pathologist determines that your child's speech issues may be complicated by their inability to fully move their tongue, this simple procedure that essentially just clips this extra flap away can provide much more oral mobility. 

2) Palate lowering surgery 

In other cases, speech impediments may be caused by a too-high palate. Many common sounds are made by pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth, and when the roof of your mouth is too high for your tongue to reach, there aren't many alternatives. By using a mouthguard-like device to lower your palate or even having surgery to relocate it in relation to your tongue, you'll be able to make these sounds easily.

3) Pharyngeal flap surgery 

Because so much of speech involves the airflow over the vocal cords and the placement of the tongue within the mouth, for children with cleft palates, speech problems can be a given. One common surgery performed after cleft palate repair is pharyngeal flap surgery, which involves the removal of a small piece of muscle from elsewhere in the body and its placement in the back of the throat to better direct airflow.

Children with cleft palates may have nasal-sounding speech caused by the lack of tissue between the nasal cavity and the mouth; this surgery can make it much easier for children to speak in general while also eliminating this nasal sound quality.

Contact a medical office like Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head for more information and assistance. 


3 April 2018

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