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A scope that lets us see how well the soft palate (back of the roof of the mouth) and throat muscles move when patients talk. A small flexible tube (scope) with a tiny video camera and light source at the tip is first passed into the patient’s nose, then pushed in to view the palate and throat muscles.
What is the purpose of a Speech Nasendoscopy? When a patient’s speech has a ‘nasal’ quality (too much air vibrating in the nose), it may be a sign that the soft palate is not moving well against the back of the throat, to separate the mouth from the nose when he/she talks. Sometimes, food and drink can also go up into the nose. This procedure allows the Plastic Surgeon and Speech Therapist (ST) to study the way the soft palate and throat muscles move during speech. This will help them decide on the best treatment for the patient’s hypernasal speech.
For patients who have had surgery to correct the position of the soft palate or throat muscles, this procedure may be repeated one year after the surgery. This allows the Surgeon and ST to check how successful the surgery was.
What will happen during a Speech Nasendoscopy? First, a nose spray (a local anaesthetic) will be used. This will make the nose feel a little numb, and help the patient feel more comfortable during the procedure.
While the anaesthetic is taking effect, the scope will be placed in the patient’s mouth. The ST will video record how the soft palate and other structures in the patient’s mouth looks. These may include the teeth, tongue, or any openings in the roof of the mouth.
The scope is then placed into the nose and passed gently backwards as the patient is speaking. Once the scope is in the correct position (just above the soft palate, near the side and back walls of the throat), the patient will be asked to asked to count and copy words and sentences after the ST (e.g., See if you can spot the spider).
How long does the procedure take?The procedure will take about 10 minutes, but the appointment may last about 30 to 45 minutes to include discussion time.
What happens next?Once the procedure is over, the ST will give the patient and their family a summary of the results. Patients may be referred for a speech videofluoroscopy (a moving X-Ray) that gives a different view of how the soft palate and throat muscles move during speech. An appointment will be made for the patient to see the Plastic Surgeon to discuss the results and treatment suggestions that may be required.
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