Lingual frenotomy for breastfeeding difficulties: a prospective follow-up study

Breastfeed Med. 2014 Jul-Aug;9(6):286-9. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2014.0010. Epub 2014 Jun 3.


Introduction: Breastfeeding difficulties are sometimes attributable to tongue-tie with short-term relief after frenotomy. Limited follow-up is available, and predictors for nonsuccessful frenotomy have not yet been found.

Patients and methods: We recruited 264 mother-infant dyads who underwent lingual frenotomy for breastfeeding difficulties. Data regarding the indications, anatomy of the tongue, and the response of the infant were noted by the physician. Mothers were contacted by telephone at 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after frenotomy to answer a questionnaire.

Results: Two weeks after frenotomy, 89% of mothers were still breastfeeding. An improvement in breastfeeding was reported by three-quarters of the mothers, but, unexpectedly, 3% reported worsening. At 3 and 6 months after the procedure, 68% and 56% of mothers were still breastfeeding, respectively. We could not find any predictor to indicate those infants in whom breastfeeding would not improve.

Conclusions: There are favorable long-term effects of frenotomy on breastfeeding. Lingual frenotomy does not always alleviate breastfeeding difficulties, and rarely worsening ensues. We could not find any predictor for successful breastfeeding after frenotomy. We speculate that because the procedure is minor, in the event of breastfeeding difficulties, lingual frenotomy should be considered as an effective tool to assist in long-term breastfeeding.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lingual Frenum / abnormalities
  • Lingual Frenum / surgery*
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sucking Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tongue Diseases / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome