In the midline, the undersurface of the tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth with a frenulum. If this is very short, the tongue can be ‘tied’. This can affect speech and swallowing. Commonly a mild tongue tie may cause no problems whatsoever. ears stick out more than others, this is called protruding ear. Protruding ears can run in families. In some cases one ear is more prominent than the other.
What is tongue tie release? This is cutting this frenulum under the tongue. This allows the tongue to protrude further out the mouth. If the tongue tie has been severe, it also allows the tongue to touch the roof of the mouth. This greatly helps speech.
Why have a tongue tie? This allows the tongue to protrude further out the mouth, and helps with speech.
Do I have to have a tongue tie release? Severe tongue tie can lead to difficulty with speech. In infants and neonates it can cause problems with feeding. In some adults a tongue tie is noted when they are older. Again it limits tongue protrusion.
How is the operation done? The operation can be done under local or general anaesthesia. In infants and children the tongue tie can be released with a simple cut with scissors. In adults a slightly bigger cut is made, that is then stitched (using dissolvable stitches). This allows the tongue to protrude further. This is a day-stay or outpatient clinic operation.
After the operation: You can usually go back to work the following day, although you will have a sore tongue for a few days. You should take pain relief tablets such as paracetamol or brufen. The stitches should come out themselves after 5 to 7 days. Sometimes a stitch may come out earlier. This does not usually matter.
Risks: All operations carry risks as well as benefits. There is the risk of numbness to the tongue tip. Sometimes infection can occur, although this is unusual. Equally the sometimes the stitches can come out and the wound can open a little. This also usually heals with no problems.
Alternatives: A tongue tie can be left alone. This is particularly the case in young infants, where a tongue tie is noted, yet the baby is having no problems with feeding. Again, as a child gets older, if speech is not affected a tongue tie can be left.