Robotic approaches to palatoplasty and the treatment of velopharyngeal dysfunction

James M. Smartt, Patrick Gerety, Jesse A. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The operative techniques used to address palatoplasty and velopharyngeal dysfunction rely on traditional methods of surgical exposure and tissue handling. As the role of robotic surgical systems has expanded, emphasis has shifted from extirpative to reconstructive applications. We discuss the possible role of surgical telemanipulation systems in the treatment of these diagnoses. Furthermore, we present a feasibility study that addresses a commonly performed treatment of velopharyngeal dysfunction-posterior pharyngeal flap (PPF). In brief, PPFs were successfully performed on a small series of cadaveric human specimens. The technical aspects of the procedure, including telemanipulator set-up, positioning, surgical instrumentation, and timing are described in detail. All cadavers underwent successful performance of PPFs. Operative times were within an acceptable range and use of the robotic system demonstrated a steep learning curve. Many of the potential advantages and costs associated with robotic surgical systems are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-34
Number of pages3
JournalSeminars in Plastic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • palatoplasty
  • robotic surgery
  • velopharyngeal dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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