Parental perception of speech and tongue mobility in three-year olds after neonatal frenotomy

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 Jan;78(1):128-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2013.11.006. Epub 2013 Nov 18.


Objectives: The goal of this study was to evaluate parental speech outcomes and tongue mobility in children with ankyloglossia who underwent frenotomy by an otolaryngologist during the neonatal period.

Study design: Cohort study and retrospective telephone survey.

Study setting: University Hospital.

Subjects and methods: Neonates previously diagnosed with congenital ankyloglossia were separated into Surgical Intervention (N=71) and No Surgical Intervention (N=15) Groups. A Control Group (N=18) of patients was identified from the hospital medical record database, which were not diagnosed with congenital ankyloglossia. A survey provided by a certified speech pathologist utilized a Likert scale to assess speech perception and tongue mobility by parental listeners. The questionnaire also analyzed oral motor activities and the medical professionals that identified the ankyloglossia shortly after birth. Statistical analyses were performed with the Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test and Fischer's Exact Test in order to determine an effect size=1.

Results: There was significantly improved speech outcomes designated by parents in the Surgical Intervention Group when compared to the No Surgical Intervention Group [p<0.0001, p<0.0001], respectively. Furthermore, parents designated no difference in speech outcomes between the Surgical Intervention Group when analyzed against the Control Group [p=0.3781, p<0.2499], respectively.

Conclusions: There was a statistically significant improvement in speech outcomes and tongue mobility in children who underwent frenotomy compared to individuals who declined the operation. As a result of the data presented within this study, there appears to be a long-term benefit beyond feeding when frenotomy is performed in newborns with ankyloglossia.

Keywords: Ankyloglossia; Frenulectomy; Frenulum; Otolaryngology; Pediatrics; Speech outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Ankyloglossia
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lingual Frenum / abnormalities*
  • Lingual Frenum / surgery
  • Male
  • Mouth Abnormalities / surgery*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Speech / physiology*
  • Tongue / abnormalities*
  • Tongue / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome