Survey of Pediatric Otolaryngology Frenotomy Practice Patterns

Laryngoscope. 2022 Dec;132(12):2505-2512. doi: 10.1002/lary.30102. Epub 2022 Mar 23.


Objectives: Assess current frenotomy practice patterns of pediatric otolaryngologists via a cross-sectional survey.

Study design: Survey study.

Methods: A 31-question electronic survey assessing frenotomy practice patterns was distributed to all American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO) members. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize responses and demographics of respondents.

Results: Of all ASPO members, 41% (240/588) completed the survey. Most respondents, 185 (77%), reported increased frenotomy referrals over the last 5 years and 144 (60%) described the current number of referrals as "too many." The two primary lingual frenotomy indications identified in infants were: breastfeeding/nipple pain (92%) and inability to latch (83%). For older children, speech difficulty (87%) was the primary indication. Maxillary frenotomy indications in infants varied amongst respondents. For analgesia during in-office frenotomy procedures, respondents used glucose/sucrose drops (48%), topical lidocaine (29%), or no pain control measure (27%). For post-procedure care, respondents recommended continuing lactation support (45%), massaging/stretching the wound (38%), or none (40%). Most respondents, 143 (60%), reported having seen a complication from frenotomy, and the most reported frenotomy complications were frenulum re-attachment and excessive bleeding.

Conclusions: In the last 5 years, otolaryngologists have seen an increase in referrals for frenotomy. Pediatric otolaryngologists have varying practice patterns with regards to ankyloglossia diagnosis and treatment. The reported indications for frenotomy varied amongst pediatric otolaryngologists especially with respect to maxillary frenotomy. Practice patterns also varied with respect to procedural pain control and frenotomy aftercare recommendations. More frenotomy research is needed to establish a standard of care for patients with ankyloglossia.

Level of evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 132:2505-2512, 2022.

Keywords: Ankyloglossia; frenectomy; frenotomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ankyloglossia* / surgery
  • Breast Feeding
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lingual Frenum / surgery
  • Otolaryngology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome