Frenotomy for tongue-tie

A frenotomy is a procedure to release the tissue (lingual frenulum) that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth. It is the preferred surgery for babies with tongue-tie.

The procedure is done in the hospital's newborn nursery or in a doctor's office without anesthesia or with a local anesthetic.

During the procedure, the health professional lifts the baby's tongue and clips the lingual frenulum. More than one cut may be needed to release the tongue. Stitches usually are not required, and there is little bleeding after the procedure. See a picture of a frenotomy.

You can feed your baby right away after the procedure. If you think your baby has pain or discomfort, you can give him or her acetaminophen, such as Tylenol or Panadol.

The health professional may want to examine your baby 1 to 2 weeks after the procedure to see that the area has healed.

Complications from tongue-tie surgery are rare but may include:

  • Infection at the site.
  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Recurrent tongue-tie from scar tissue formation. This may be more likely to develop after a frenotomy than after a release and surgical closure procedure (frenuloplasty). If recurrent tongue-tie develops, it is generally less severe than it was before the surgery.

Last Updated: August 20, 2009

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