Our research programme in the development and implementation of MRI protocols for the management of cleft palate patients is funded by Barts and the London Charity and CLEFT. The research focusses on improving both the anatomical imaging of the muscles associated with speech production and developing real-time imaging of speech.
Our first focus was on the acquisition of high resolution images of the LVP. The protocol was first optimised on healthy volunteers and is now applied to patients. The best delineation of the LVP was achieved with a proton Density (PD) weigthed turbo spin echo (TSE) imaging of the LVP in healthy volunteers. The image resolution is 0.6mm x 0.6mm in plane, the slice thickness is 1.2mm with a slice overlap of 0.6mm, thus allowing isotropic reconstruction in any plane. A typical slice through the LVP, acquired at 1.5T (Philips Achieva) is shown below: