Review of tongue-tie release at a tertiary maternity hospital

Lisa Helen Amir, Jennifer Patricia James and Joanne Beatty

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 41 (5-6), 243–245. – May 2005.


Objective: To review the first 12 months of assessment and release of lingual frenulum (frenotomy) at a breast-feeding clinic in a tertiary maternity hospital (August 2002 to end of July 2003) and to report on the breast-feeding outcomes and parental satisfaction.

Methods: A structured telephone interview was conducted with the mother at least 3 months after the assessment. Data were collected about the presenting problem and the effect of release of the tongue-tie (if performed). Parents were also asked about their satisfaction with the procedure and of problems following the release.

Results: Sixty-six babies were assessed in 12 months. If infants were assessed as: (i) having impaired lingual function (using the Hazelbaker assessment tool for lingual frenulum function); (ii) the frenulum visualized to be a thin membrane; and (iii) the parent(s) gave informed consent, the frenulum was released. Initial and follow-up data are available on 46 infants. Infants had a mean age of 18 days (range 3–98), 63% were male infants and most had difficulties with attachment to the breast. Frenotomy was performed on 35 infants and breast-feeding improved in 83%. Parents reported high levels of satisfaction with the frenotomy procedure and no complications were reported.

Conclusion: Frenotomy is a safe and easy procedure. Infants with a significant tongue-tie that is interfering with breast-feeding have shown an improvement with breast-feeding following frenotomy.