Objective: To introduce a highly innovative imaging method to study the complex velopharyngeal (VP) system and introduce the potential future clinical applications of a VP atlas in cleft care. Design: Four healthy adults participated in a 20-min dynamic magnetic resonance imaging scan that included a high-resolution T2-weighted turbo-spin-echo 3D structural scan and five custom dynamic speech imaging scans. Subjects repeated a variety of phrases when in the scanner as real-time audio was captured. Setting: Multisite institution and clinical setting Participants: Four adult subjects with normal anatomy were recruited for this study. Main Outcome: Establishment of 4-D atlas constructed from dynamic VP MRI data. Results: Three-dimensional dynamic magnetic resonance imaging was successfully used to obtain high quality dynamic speech scans in an adult population. Scans were able to be re-sliced in various imaging planes. Subject-specific MR data were then reconstructed and time-aligned to create a velopharyngeal atlas representing the averaged physiological movements across the four subjects. Conclusions: The current preliminary study examined the feasibility of developing a VP atlas for potential clinical applications in cleft care. Our results indicate excellent potential for the development and use of a VP atlas for assessing VP physiology during speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCleft Palate Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • MRI
  • imaging
  • speech
  • velopharyngeal dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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