Palatoplasty Furlow PLS Procedure

Since early 2011, the boy has been having speech therapy. And he has made tremendous improvement. But, the speech therapist has always noticed some extra nasal sounds, produced when he tries to pronounce certain sounds. We had hoped this nasal sound would diminish over time. It has not.

Therefore, this spring he was given a nasopharyngoscopy to test for VIP (velopharyngeal insufficiency). Not much fun, a scope was placed up his nose to assess dynamic function during various speech tasks. (how muscles move when he speaks). As always, he was a real trooper and didn’t freak out nearly as much as I would if that camera tube was stick WAY up my nose.

The test results reviewed the back of his mouth failed to close completely, so air escapes producing the nasal sounds. His care team recommended a Palatoplasty Furlow procedure to help realign the muscles to prevent this air from escaping.

In early June, Will had this procedure at Seattle Children’s hospital. Earlier, we talked with him about what was going to happen and why but it didn’t really sink in. And for a 5 year old, the only thing he retained was the fact that he’d be home from school for awhile and get to eat lots of ice cream.

Enjoying a few cartoons before surgery

Enjoying a few cartoons before surgery


KW dressed for taking the boy into surgery. She did not stay for the actual procedure.

Again, Children’s is a world class facility and we were very impressed with all the staff and the care they provided.

He only stayed two nights but that amount of time inside a children’s hospital shakes you to your core. So many really sick children. His recovery room roommate had surgery the same day and we don’t know any details but he was getting a lot of morphine for his pain and moaned most of the night. Ugh, makes you appreciate what we have. Will also was in pain but not morphine pain and at least could sleep through the night.

The toughest part of this the first 24 hours of recovery was his tongue-stitch. This thread held his tongue out of the way and so he couldn’t use his tongue to touch the surgical area. He HATED this.


The surgery was on a Monday and we knew he’d be in pain for a few days. The surgeon said my take up to two weeks before he was fully recovered. Wednesday through Saturday was hard on him as he ate his liquid (soft) diet (apple sauce, chocolate pudding, eggs and of course ice cream). He didn’t speak much and looked so sad. We read books, and watched tons of Dora videos. But on Sunday afternoon, we knew we turned a corner on the road to recovery. He began to sing again.

About Scott

Training to qualify for the Boston Marathon and simplify our life, as a stay at home dad.
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1 Response to Palatoplasty Furlow PLS Procedure

  1. Dianne Elderkin says:

    Nothing can keep that darling boy down

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