Establishing a Clinical Protocol for Velopharyngeal MRI and Interpreting Imaging Findings

Jamie L. Perry, Taylor D. Snodgrass, Imani R. Gilbert, Bradley P. Sutton, Adriane L. Baylis, Erica M. Weidler, Raymond W. Tse, Stacey L. Ishman, Thomas J. Sitzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditional imaging modalities used to assess velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) do not allow for direct visualization of underlying velopharyngeal (VP) structures and musculature which could impact surgical planning. This limitation can be overcome via structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the only current imaging tool that provides direct visualization of salient VP structures. MRI has been used extensively in research; however, it has had limited clinical use. Factors that restrict clinical use of VP MRI include limited access to optimized VP MRI protocols and uncertainty regarding how to interpret VP MRI findings. The purpose of this paper is to outline a framework for establishing a novel VP MRI scan protocol and to detail the process of interpreting scans of the velopharynx at rest and during speech tasks. Additionally, this paper includes common scan parameters needed to allow for visualization of velopharynx and techniques for the elicitation of speech during scans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)748-758
Number of pages11
JournalCleft Palate Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • instrumental assessment
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • secondary surgery
  • speech imaging
  • velopharyngeal insufficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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