The value of frenotomy for ankyloglossia from a parental perspective

N Z Med J. 2019 Aug 16;132(1500):70-81.


Aims: We sought the parental experience of the effects of frenotomy in the presence of ankyloglossia by exploring the reasons for seeking frenotomy, impressions of its value and its impact on breastfeeding.

Method: A prospective survey of infants receiving frenotomy in a general practice in Palmerston North was undertaken. Infants aged under six months with confirmed ankyloglossia via a GP and lactation consultant were included. One hundred and seventy-six children met the study criteria. Parents completed a pre-procedure questionnaire and received a follow-up phone call.

Results: Results demonstrated that 97% of parents would seek out frenotomy again in similar circumstances. Initially, 93 mother-infant pairs (53%) were not fully breastfeeding; post frenotomy, 33 of these pairs were able to start fully breastfeeding. One hundred and thirty-two pairs showed no change in feeding method. Nine pairs deteriorated from partial breastfeeding to artificial feeding, and two pairs deteriorated from fully breastfeeding to artificial feeding. Both feeding time and nipple pain improved post-frenotomy. Eighty percent of parents reported a moderate or significant improvement in their presenting issue, and 77% reported moderate to significant improvement in feeding quality. There were no major complications.

Conclusion: Frenotomy was reported to be beneficial, with a high level of parental satisfaction and improvement in rates of full breastfeeding and feeding duration, as well as a reduction in nipple pain. Parents were willing to go to significant lengths to access the procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankyloglossia* / physiopathology
  • Ankyloglossia* / surgery
  • Bottle Feeding
  • Breast Feeding
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lingual Frenum* / abnormalities
  • Lingual Frenum* / surgery
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome