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Tongue-tie is usually an innocuous condition that often causes parents more concern than is warranted. Generally the tongue tie is mild and the tongue can be protruded beyond the lower lip if however the child has a severe tongue tie and cannot protrude the tongue beyond the lower teeth and this is affecting the child sucking at the breast or later interfering with the child’s swallowing and speech development and pronunciation then the tongue tie may need to be treated.

Generally the management of this is a very brief general anesthetic and with a diathermy the excessive tight tissue causing the tongue-tie is burnt away leaving a freely mobile tongue. The surgical time for this procedure is less than 2-3 minutes with the remainder of the time being anesthetic induction and wakening from the anesthetic however it is important to realize that only the more severe cases of tongue-tie should be treated. Often my advice is for the procedure to be done subsequently if the child requires another procedure such as insertion of grommets or a hernia repair for example.

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