The hanging ball in the back of your throat is called the uvula. A bifid uvula is a split in the uvula.
What Is Bifid Uvula?
A bifid uvula, also known as a cleft uvula, is a uvula that is split in two. The distance between the two halves of the uvula may be narrow or wide. A bifid uvula may be an isolated, benign finding, or it may be related to submucous cleft palate.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Bifid Uvula?
A child with a bifid uvula may have no symptoms related to it. Alternatively, they may have hypernasal speech.
How Is Bifid Uvula Diagnosed?
All newborns undergo an examination of the mouth at birth, but sometimes a bifid uvula is not noticed immediately. In some cases, an infant may struggle with feeding or display leakage of breastmilk or formula through the nose.
It is important for patients with a bifid uvula to be evaluated at the Cleft Lip and Palate Center or Velopharyngeal Dysfunction (VPD) Program in order to be checked for submucous cleft palate. The team typically includes a speech-language pathologist with specialized training in cleft palate and VPD and a surgeon with expertise in cleft palate and VPD surgery.
Additional team members may also assess the patient, based on the child’s specific needs, including:
How Is Bifid Uvula Treated?
In cases of isolated bifid uvula, and in cases of submucous cleft palate without hypernasality, no surgical intervention is needed.
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Submucosal Cleft Palate: A 'Hidden' Cause of Speech and Middle Ear Problems
A submucosal cleft palate (SMCP) results from a lack of normal fusion of the muscles within the soft palate as the baby is developing in utero. It occurs in about 1 in 1,200 children.
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