Lingual frenectomy: what is it and how does it influence breastfeeding?

 Lingual frenectomy: what is it and how does it influence breastfeeding?

Lena Fisher

Lingual frenectomy is a surgery indicated in cases of ankyloglossia, an anomaly in the tongue characterized by a shorter lingual frenum, which results in limited tongue movement.

A Dr. Ana Loch a pediatrician specialized in pediatric infectology, explains that lingual frenectomy is the surgical removal, total or partial, of the lingual frown when there is this shortening.

"This anomaly is better known as 'tongue-tied', which can make it difficult to move the tongue, impair breastfeeding, feeding, and speech," adds the pediatrician.

Lingual frenectomy in baby

According to the doctor specialized in pediatric infectology, lingual frenectomy in babies is a very simple type of surgical procedure.

"This surgery is done in a dental office, and can also be performed by pediatricians and speech therapists," adds Dr. Ana Loch.

Thus, surgery to remove the lingual frenum is performed in newborns But it can also be performed in adults, in a surgery performed by a dental surgeon.

What is a baby's frenectomy surgery for?

So that there is no doubt about what lingual frenectomy surgery is for, the specialist explains that this type of surgery helps to promote greater mobility of the tongue of the patient. baby .

In addition, during suckling from the breast, the baby will be able to make the correct tongue movement on the 'roof of the mouth', thus favoring a faster and more effective feed.

"In older children, lingual frenectomy is also indicated to improve speech and treat stuck tongue," recalls Dr. Ana Loch.

Why cut the baby's tongue bridle?

This malformation happens during the baby's development in the mother's womb, leaving the tongue attached to the jaw. As the pregnancy progresses, the tongue becomes detached from this jaw region.

However, in some babies, this tongue separation process may be incomplete, leaving some fibers that will limit the mobility of the famous 'short brake' region.

Therefore, in order for tongue movement to become completely free, it is best to cut the baby's tongue bridle.

The pediatrician explains that the reason for this cut is because the short lingual bridle impairs the breastfeeding In addition, the baby may get tired more easily when feeding, needing to feed more times a day, besides causing injuries and severe pain in the mother's breasts," she says.

When to perform lingual frenectomy?

Many mothers and fathers are concerned about the best time to have tongue fret surgery. Is the best time during the newborn stage?

The doctor, specialized in pediatric infectious diseases, indicates that lingual frenectomy can be performed on newborn babies, especially when difficulty in breastfeeding is detected due to the short lingual bridle.

"Usually, breastfeeding consultants already notice the problem and guide the family. In older children it is already possible to observe some difficulty in speech, such as tongue clenching", confirms the pediatrician.

That is why, in the case of babies, it is very important to pay attention to breastfeeding, since some signs that the baby has a short lingual frenulum are noticeable, such as difficulty in breastfeeding, fast tiredness when breastfeeding, or breastfeeding more often than usual.

Does lingual frenectomy influence breastfeeding?

Our consulted physician affirms that yes: "lingual frenectomy helps a lot in breastfeeding The baby can suck faster and more effectively," she says.

Besides these benefits of this type of surgery, here are other advantages of performing lingual frenectomy:

  • It treats speech problems, speech articulation imprecision, and sound change or distortion;
  • Improves tongue movements;
  • It helps in chewing;
  • It makes it possible to have more control of oral hygiene, avoiding the risk of bacterial plaque accumulation, poor hygiene of the molars, gum inflammation, and gum recessions.

Tongue test to diagnose tongue-tied tongue

According to Dr. Ana Loch, the tongue test should be performed from the very first days of the baby's life.

"The tongue test can be done until the baby is 30 days old, but it is usually done in the first week of life," explains the doctor.

Therefore, the family needs to seek examination for the newborn as early as possible, so that the doctors can find out whether the baby has tongue-tied.

"With the tongue test, it is possible to evaluate the lingual frenulum. breastfeeding or speech therapist also observe how this baby latches on to the breast, if the feeds are too fast and if the mother has felt strong pain when breastfeeding, which are already indicative for lingual frenectomy", explains the pediatrician.

Thus, with the diagnosis made and the surgery performed, it is possible to avoid greater difficulties in breastfeeding, the possible loss of weight of the baby and weaning early with the introduction of the bottle.

Consequences of not performing frenectomy

One of the biggest impacts of not performing surgery on the short lingual frenulum is related to breastfeeding the baby.

"The baby with a shortened tongue bridle tends to suckle with more difficulty, does not latch on correctly and ends up hurting the tongue. mother's breast This discourages breastfeeding, because the mother feels a lot of pain and needs to breastfeed more times a day, because the feeds become ineffective," warns the specialist.

In addition, there are other frequent complications of tongue-tied foods, such as weight loss in the newborn, delayed development or growth, speech problems or delayed language development, difficulty introducing solid foods into the infant's diet, and choking risk.

Source: Dr. Ana Loch, pediatrician specialized in pediatric infectology.

Lena Fisher

Lena Fisher is a wellness enthusiast, certified nutritionist, and author of the popular health and well-being blog. With over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition and health coaching, Lena has dedicated her career to helping people achieve their optimal health and live their best life possible. Her passion for wellness has led her to explore various approaches to achieving overall health, including diet, exercise, and mindfulness practices. Lena's blog is a culmination of her years of research, experience, and personal journey towards finding balance and well-being. Her mission is to inspire and empower others to make positive changes in their lives and embrace a healthy lifestyle. When she's not writing or coaching clients, you can find Lena practicing yoga, hiking the trails, or experimenting with new healthy recipes in the kitchen.