Much ado about nothing: two millenia of controversy on tongue-tie

Neonatology. 2010;97(2):83-9. doi: 10.1159/000235682. Epub 2009 Aug 25.


Tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, is poorly defined and involves a short, thick, fibrosed, or fixed lingual frenulum. Operative interventions were proposed already in Greek medicine. In the Middle Ages, competition arose between midwives, who used their nails to detach the frenulum, and surgeons, who were allowed to use instruments. During the last century, the justification for frenotomy shifted from improved language to enhanced feeding. Despite the high frequency of the intervention, little research has been performed on its benefit, which remains a controversial topic among different groups of health professionals.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • General Surgery / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lingual Frenum* / abnormalities
  • Lingual Frenum* / surgery
  • Midwifery / history*
  • Ranula / history*
  • Ranula / surgery
  • Tongue Diseases / history*
  • Tongue Diseases / surgery