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Palate Investigation Clinic

Patient information A-Z


What is palate investigation clinic?

Palate investigation clinic (PIC) is a four-stop clinic held at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, to assess the movement of the palate during speech.

  • It is an all-day clinic where assessments are taken and you have the chance to discuss the findings on the day, ask any questions, and make a plan of action with the team.
  • It is run by the members of the cleft lip and palate team, including a surgeon, specialist speech and language therapists and clinical psychologists.
  • PIC looks at what the soft palate does during speech. It needs to lift to touch the back wall of the nose and throat during speech (and eating).
  • If it does not reach, there may be a ’nasal’ quality to the voice and air may escape down the nose for some sounds in speech.
  • A moving x-ray allows us to see where and how well the palate moves and whether it reaches the back wall of the nose and throat as it should.

What happens at PIC

Measuring height and weight Assessment stages
Measuring height and weight Assessment stages

First, you will meet a member of the team who will fill in consent forms with you.

Then, there are four separate appointments with breaks between them.

  1. A video recording of speech: conversation, counting and sentence repetition with pictures in Clinic 7.
  2. A visit to the x-ray department on Level 3 for a short video x-ray of speech. We take the x-ray while we show pictures and do some more talking together. You/your child will have to sit very still.
  3. A meeting with one of the Clinical Psychologists to talk about your expectations for the day. They can support you to think about any questions or concerns you may have about the clinic, or possible outcomes, and help you to think about any decision that you might have to make in the future.
  4. Later, there will be a discussion in Clinic 7 with the team about the findings from the day, and if there is any way the surgeon can help.

Please Note

The timetable is tight and our X-ray slots are limited, so please try to arrive promptly.

  • You may also need to allow some time to park.
  • We can have up to six families going through this process on the day, so there is some time to wait between each appointment.
  • We try our hardest to run to time in discussions, but sometimes they take longer than expected – please bring entertainment with you!
  • If you take your clinic letter to the main hospital reception at the end of the day, you will be given a discounted parking ticket.

What might happen after PIC?


At PIC there may be a variety of outcomes.

  1. Watchful waiting - We may decide to use the investigation as a baseline and monitor progress to see if growth and maturation have any effect over time.
  2. Speech and Language Therapy - We may offer speech and language therapy to see if changes can be made to speech with therapy input.
  3. Surgery - An operation to the palate or throat may be offered to help improve speech.
  4. A combination of the above.

Contacts/ Further information


Box 46
Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge

University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Hills Road Cambridge


Tel: 01223 596272

Cleft Net East

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151