Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences
The goal of this study is to determine the typical range of asymmetry between the length and thickness of the levator veli palatini muscle and to explore the impact of the observed asymmetry on velopharyngeal closure. A second objective is to report normative length and thickness of the levator veli palatini muscle among adults with typical velopharyngeal anatomy.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data and Amira 5.5 Visualization software were used to evaluate the levator veli palatini muscle among 89 participants with typical velopharyngeal anatomy. Flexible nasopharyngoscopy was used to determine the function of velopharyngeal closure among 39 of the 89 participants with typical velopharyngeal anatomy to examine the functional impact of observed asymmetry.
Matched paired t tests demonstrated a nonsignificant difference between the length and thickness of the right and left levator muscle. The mean difference between the right and left length of the levator muscle was 2.28 mm but ranged from 0.09 mm to 10.37 mm. In all cases where individuals displayed asymmetry in the levator muscle through MRI, there was no observed impact on the symmetry of velopharyngeal closure.
This study suggests that differences in the right and left levator veli palatini muscle are not significant among individuals without cleft palate. However, among individual cases where asymmetry was sizeable, there was no direct impact on the closure pattern. This may suggest there are multiple factors that contribute to asymmetrical velopharyngeal closure that are beyond the level of the levator veli palatini muscle.