Surgical significance of abnormal internal carotid arteries in velocardiofacial syndrome in 43 consecutive hynes pharyngoplasties

Felicity V Mehendale, Brian C Sommerlad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To determine: (1) the incidence of surgically significant, abnormal internal carotid arteries (ICAs) in velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS); (2) the implications for a Hynes pharyngoplasty; (3) the reliability of preoperative investigations in detecting surgically significant abnormal ICAs.

DESIGN: Prospective data collection with blind reassessment of nasendoscopy recordings.

SETTING: Two-site, tertiary referral cleft unit.

PATIENTS: Forty-three consecutive patients with VCFS who underwent a Hynes pharyngoplasty (six had a subsequent revision).

INTERVENTIONS: Intraoral examinations, lateral videofluoroscopy, nasendoscopy when possible, and intraoperative palpation of the posterolateral pharyngeal walls. Only one patient had a magnetic resonance angiography (MRA).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence of surgically significant pulsations; modifications to surgical procedure; and correlation of surgical findings with preoperative nasendoscopy and MRA.

RESULTS: Five patients (11.6%) had abnormal pulsations noted at the time of the Hynes. In no patient was the decision to perform a Hynes altered as a result of abnormal pulsations. Two patients had minor adjustments to the Hynes flaps to avoid exposing/damaging the ICA. In one patient an abnormal ICA was exposed during elevation of the left Hynes flap. This was covered uneventfully by routine closure of the secondary defect. Pulsations were noted in only 3 of 24 assessable preoperative nasendoscopies.

CONCLUSIONS: A Hynes pharyngoplasty is not contraindicated in VCFS, even if abnormal pulsations are present. Examination and palpation of the pharyngeal walls after the patient is positioned for surgery appear to be reliable in detecting abnormal pulsations and allow accurate surgical planning. Routine vascular imaging, even in patients with pulsations on preoperative nasendoscopy is not essential and may not always be reliable, as shown by the variation in endoscopic, MRA, and intraoperative findings. This further re-emphasizes the importance of palpating the pharyngeal walls once the patient is positioned for surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-74
Number of pages7
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004


  • Adolescent
  • Cardiovascular Abnormalities
  • Carotid Artery Diseases
  • Carotid Artery, Internal
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contraindications
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Male
  • Oral Surgical Procedures
  • Palpation
  • Pharynx
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Syndrome
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency
  • Journal Article
  • Multicenter Study


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