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Surgery for Your Tongue Tied Infant

Surgery for Your Tongue Tied Infant

Tongue-tied infants struggle to breastfeed and can experience difficulty speaking down the road. Fortunately, a simple, outpatient surgery will repair your baby’s tongue-tie quickly and safely.

Preparing yourself and your baby for a tongue-tie surgery

The most common surgery used to repair a tongue-tie is called a frenotomy. This procedure takes place right in your doctor’s office and so it’s considered “outpatient.” Although simple – using only a laser – the idea of cutting the frenulum (the tough piece of tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the base of the mouth) can be off-putting.

However, if necessary, seeking to treat a tongue-tie sooner, rather than later, is the best option to ensure your baby is well-nourished, comfortable and has the ability to speak clearly down the road.

We only use a local anesthetic

Most new parents are reassured to learn that no anesthesia is necessary. While a frenotomy is considered a surgical procedure, it only requires the use of a local anesthetic. This is administered topically using a numbing cream. Therefore, your baby won’t feel much at all – and certainly no pain - while the frenotomy is taking place.

You can use children’s acetaminophen (Tylenol) beforehand

Once the procedure if finished and the topical anesthetic wears off, s/he will be understandably sore. For this reason, we recommend administering the appropriate dose by weight (as per the bottle’s instructions) at least 30 to 60-minutes prior to the procedure.

You can re-administer the dose as the manufacturer’s direct (typically every 4- to 6-hours) as needed.

The procedure takes less than five minutes

Actually, the laser procedure takes less than 2-minutes, but the time between when we take your baby into the procedure room, to the time when we deliver him/her back into your arms will be 5-minutes or less, after which you can soothe him and her as you see fit, including breast or bottle feeding.

You are welcome to stay as long as necessary to soothe your baby (and yourself!), and we’ll be on hand to answer any questions you have during this time.

Performing stretches/exercises at home ensures a proper recovery

The baby’s severed lingual frenulum will heal right back together if you don’t follow the “at home physical therapy” instructions provided. We’ll send you home with numbing gel and a list of stretching and sucking exercises for the lips and tongue.

These stretches need to be done four times a day for the first few weeks and will taper off during the fourth week. By that time, the frenulum will have healed into its new, healthy size/length.

Contact us if there is any sign of complications or infection

If you follow the post-op instructions provided at your appointment, the chances of complications are rare. However, infection is the biggest risk. Please contact our office immediately if you notice:

  • Signs of uncontrolled bleeding
  • Your baby is refusing the breast or bottle
  • S/he’s running a fever of 101.5 or higher



Published on January 8, 2019