Posterior Tongue Tie Clipping

tongue_tie_smith_3_0Q: Are there any posterior tongue tip clip complications? My son had a severe tongue tie that was clipped within his first week. My son had his tongue tie clipped under a general anesthetic at 6 days old because he couldn’t latch on to the breast. I asked for a referral to an ENT that could clip the tongue tie. At 10 weeks he was diagnosed with tongue tie and we got it clipped the next day. I know clipping the tongue sounds crazy, but that what the lactation lady suggested.

A: Posterior tongue tie Treatment involves clipping the membrane under the posterior tongue tie, in a procedure called a frenulectomy.

The doctor I consulted with said this: “To fix posterior tongue tie is simple…they just clip the frenum (the fold of skin going from the bottom of your tongue to the floor of your mouth). Simply clipping the flap with a blunt-nose scissor will do the trick. They either have the mother (or a nurse, depending on the oral surgeon you go to), hold the baby very still while it’s quickly clipped.”

If surgery is done before 1 year of age, a procedure to clip the lingual frenulum (frenotomy) is usually all that is needed to release the tongue. In most babies, the frenulum is thin, and there is little to no blood when it’s clipped.

If you feel that your baby’s breastfeeding difficulties may be due to tongue-tie, you may need to work at finding a health care provider who can diagnose the problem and clip the frenulum. If tongue-tie is causing severe breastfeeding difficulties, then the sooner the frenulum is clipped, the better.

If the tongue-tie isn’t identified and the frenulum isn’t clipped until the baby is several weeks or months old, then it may take longer for him to learn to suck normally.

Complications From Posterior Tongue Tie Surgery

Clipping a posterior tongue tie in a young baby is a very minor procedure. Most people have the tongue clipped in a doctor’s office, not the hospital. There is a little bleeding, but the baby appears not to be in pain (I have a friend who had several of her kids’ posterior tongue ties clipped). After the clipping, there may be a couple of drops of blood, rarely more. I would highly recommend clipping the tongue if your child is tongue tied.

He did attempt to clip it in the office, but when he went to do it, he discovered my son’s frenulum was too thick and vascular, and he didn’t want to risk him losing too much blood.

Generally you can safely clip a posterior tongue tie in the first weeks of life because it isn’t very thick, has very few blood vessels if any, and it it easier to hold the baby down/mouth open.

Should I Clip Posterior Tongue Tie?

Tongue ties and lip ties can be clipped, but usually this isn’t done unless it’s severe enough to be causing noticeable problems. For instance, if there is a significant posterior tongue tie restricting tongue movement even when other factors are ideal (mom’s nipple size and shape, mom’s breastfeeding experience, etc.,) it is very desirable to clip, because it will almost always affect speech and dental hygiene.

Up until the nineteenth century, baby’s frenulums were clipped almost routinely. Because the procedure was done so often, even though in most cases it wasn’t really necessary, doctors became very reluctant to clip frenulums at all and the procedure was rarely performed.

Posterior Tongue Tie Clipping in Adults

I had a tongue tie as well which we didn’t have corrected until I was 16. I was having my tonsils and adenoids removed, as well as having my nose straightened, so the ear, nose, and throat specialist told me that he could just clip my tongue as well.

If a tongue-tie is not clipped during infancy, a person may later have a hard time moving food around for chewing or clearing food out of the cheeks or other areas of the mouth. There is no way to know from looking if it will fix itself or cause problems later on. You have to decide for yourself whether you’d rather risk the speech defects or the clipping.

If one decides to have a tie clipped later in life a frenulectomy can be completed under general anesthesia. If it begins to cause problems later on (speech delays, dental spacing issues) it can always be clipped then, once there’s a clear need for it.

I was posterior tongue tied as a baby, and mine was clipped (according to my mother, I had trouble eating) My son is 10 months, and is a tongue tied, but not bad enough to affect his eating, so the doctor left it as is. Tongue-tie surgery (lingual frenectomy) involves more than just a simple clipping or a quick snip, but more involved tissue resection under general anaesthetic.