Management of posterior ankyloglossia and upper lip ties in a tertiary otolaryngology outpatient clinic

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Sep:88:13-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2016.06.037. Epub 2016 Jun 18.


Objectives: Recent studies have shown an association between ankyloglossia (tongue tie) and upper-lip ties to breastfeeding difficulties. Treatment is commonly multidisciplinary involving lactation consultants and surgical management with tongue tie and upper lip tie release. There is currently limited data looking at posterior ankyloglossia and upper lip ties.

Methods: Consecutive patients seen at an ENT outpatient clinic for ankyloglossia and upper-lip ties from May 2014-August 2015 were assessed for an outpatient frenotomy. Breastfeeding outcomes were assessed following the procedure.

Results: 43 babies were seen and 34 patients had a procedure carried out. Babies ranged from 2 to 20 weeks old with the median age being 6.6 weeks. The most common presenting complaint was latching issues (85%) with mothers' painful nipples being the second (65%). 21 patients (62%) had a tongue tie release, 10 (29%) had both a tongue tie and upper lip tie divided, whereas 3 (9%) had an upper-lip tie alone divided. 29 (85%) of the patients who had a procedure carried out had an immediate improvement in breastfeeding, while 28 (82%) had a continued improvement at 2 weeks follow up.

Conclusions: Frenotomy for posterior ankyloglossia and upper lip ties is a simple procedure that can be carried out in an outpatient setting with apparent immediate benefit. Otolaryngologists are likely to have an increasing role to play in the evaluation and management of ankyloglossia and upper lip ties in babies with breastfeeding difficulties.

Keywords: Ankyloglossia; Frenotomy; Upper lip tie.

MeSH terms

  • Ankyloglossia / surgery*
  • Breast Feeding
  • Clinical Audit
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Labial Frenum / surgery*
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Oral Surgical Procedures
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Prospective Studies