We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Tongue-tie is a condition whereby the skin connecting a baby's tongue to the floor of her mouth is too short or far forward, restricting the tongue's movement. About 4 percent of babies are born with tongue-tie. For some babies, the condition makes breastfeeding difficult.
Increasingly, babies are getting surgery for tongue-tie, according to research published in the journal Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. In 1997, just 1,200 babies underwent the procedure. Fifteen years later, in 2012, that number jumped to more than 12,400 babies.
Tongue-tie surgery is usually quick and safe, requiring only a local anesthetic. But like any surgical procedure, it does carry some risks, such as bleeding, infection, or damage to the tongue. And it can also be expensive, costing upward of $850.
Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, found that up to two-thirds of tongue-tie surgeries could be avoided. They studied a group of 115 babies who were referred for the surgery and also enrolled in a feeding evaluation program.
In the program, moms received help from specialists – including speech and language experts – who observed their babies breastfeeding and offered strategies to help. Afterward, 63 percent of the moms were able to breastfeed successfully – and their babies didn't need tongue-tie surgery after all, the researchers reported.
The study was small, and only at one hospital, so further research is needed to see if this type of intervention works in other settings.
Speaking to Today, researcher Dr. Jonathan Walsh said that parents should consider seeking a second opinion if their baby is given a tongue-tie diagnosis and referred for surgery. Massachusetts Eye and Ear professor Christopher Hartnick, talking to the Huffington Post, said that parents would benefit from consulting with a multidisciplinary team of pediatricians, lactation consultants, speech pathologists, and ear, nose, and throat specialists.
Obviously, that's not something every parent has access to. Dr. Casey Rosen-Carole, a pediatrician not involved in the research who also spoke with the Huffington Post, suggested that parents start by talking to two experts if their baby appears to have a tongue-tie problem: their pediatrician and a lactation consultant.
our site News & Analysis is an assessment of recent news designed to cut through the hype and get you what you need to know.