Ankyloglossia and breastfeeding
Paediatrics and Child Health (Canada)
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Ankyloglossia ('tongue-tie') is a relatively common congenital anomaly characterized by an abnormally short lingual frenulum, which may restrict tongue tip mobility. There is considerable controversy regarding its diagnosis, clinical significance and management, and there is wide variation in practice in this regard. Most infants with ankyloglossia are asymptomatic and do not exhibit feeding problems. Based on available evidence, frenotomy cannot be recommended for all infants with ankyloglossia. There may be an association between ankyloglossia and significant breastfeeding difficulties in some infants. This subset of infants may benefit from frenotomy (the surgical division of the lingual frenulum). When an association between significant tongue-tie and major breastfeeding problems is clearly identified and surgical intervention is deemed to be necessary, frenotomy should be performed by a clinician experienced with the procedure and using appropriate analgesia. More definitive recommendations regarding the management of tongue-tie in infants await clear diagnostic criteria and appropriately designed trials.