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Tongue-Tie Surgery for Age 1 Year and Older

Topic Overview

Frenuloplasty is the release of the tissue (lingual frenulum) that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth and closure of the wound with stitches. It is the preferred surgery for tongue-tie in a child older than 1 year of age.

During the procedure, the doctor clips the lingual frenulum to release the tongue and then stitches the resulting triangular-shaped wound closed. Pressure may be applied to stop any bleeding that occurs.

Younger children having a frenuloplasty may need general anesthesia. Older children and adults may receive a local anesthetic.

After the procedure, the child or adult can go back to a normal diet and may use acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, for pain or discomfort.

Complications from tongue-tie surgery are rare but may include:

  • Infection at the site.
  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Recurrent tongue-tie from scar tissue formation. Tongue-tie may be more likely to recur after a simple release of the tissue (frenotomy) than after frenuloplasty. If tongue-tie recurs, it is typically less severe than it was before the surgery.

Older children and adults may need to do tongue exercises several times daily for about 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery. These exercises help strengthen the tongue muscle and improve mobility of the tongue. They also help reduce the chances of scar tissue forming.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Chuck Norlin, MD - Pediatrics
Last Revised May 11, 2012

Last Revised: May 11, 2012

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