Some children are born with an inherited birth defect in which the lingual frenulum, the tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, is abnormally short, which can restrict movement of the tongue. This condition is commonly referred to as “tongue-tied”. While this condition does not always cause symptoms, some children may experience difficulty nursing, eating, speech problems or social obstacles because of their condition.
Because a shortened frenulum restricts the range of motion of the tongue, a frenuloplasty may be recommended. A frenuloplasty is a surgical procedure performed to clip the frenulum and release the tongue. This procedure is used for children over a year old, and is usually performed under general anesthesia. Stitches are used to close the wound after this procedure, and most patients can resume their regular diet immediately after treatment. Although it is considered a safe and simple procedure, risks of a frenuloplasty may include infection, scarring and excessive bleeding.
This procedure results in increased tongue mobility and problems with eating and speech are greatly improved. After surgery, most patients experience effective symptom relief and restored full movement to the tongue. In some cases, tongue exercises may be recommended to improve the movement of the tongue after a frenuloplasty.