Speech in 5-year-olds born with unilateral cleft lip and palate: a Prospective Swedish Intercenter Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Studies on the impact of cleft palate surgery on speech with stringent methodology are called for, since we still do not know the best timing or the best method for surgery. The purpose was to report on speech outcome for all Swedish-speaking 5-year-olds born with a non-syndromic unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP), in 2008–2010, treated at Sweden’s six cleft palate centres, and to compare speech outcomes between centres. Speech was assessed in 57 children with percent consonants correct adjusted for age (PCC-A), based on phonetic transcriptions from audio recordings by five independent judges. Also, hypernasality and perceived velopharyngeal function were assessed. The median PCC-A for all children was 93.9, and medians in the different groups varied from 89.9 to 96.8. In the total group, 9 children (16%) had more than mild hypernasality. Twenty-two children (38.5%) were perceived as having competent/sufficient velopharyngeal function, 25 (44%) as having marginally incompetent/insufficient velopharyngeal function, and 10 children (17.5%) as having incompetent/insufficient velopharyngeal function. Ten children were treated with secondary speech improving surgery and/or fistula surgery. No significant differences among the six groups, with eight to ten children in each group, were found. The results were similar to those in other studies on speech of children with UCLP, but poorer than results in normative data of Swedish-speaking 5-year-olds without UCLP. Indications of differences in frequency of surgical treatment and speech treatment between centres were observed.


  • Kristina Klintö
  • Karin Brunnegård
  • Christina Havstam
  • Malin Appelqvist
  • Emilie Hagberg
  • Ann Sofie Taleman
  • Anette Lohmander
External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Umeå University
  • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
  • Uppsala University Hospital
  • Karolinska University Hospital
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Norrköpings kommun
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Surgery


  • Cleft lip and palate, palatoplasty
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019 May 20
Publication categoryResearch