Grow a tongue when you cut

Shortening of the ligament of the tongue

Important NOTE:
The description of the interventions was compiled with the greatest care. However, it can only be an overview and does not claim to be complete. The websites of the service providers and the personal consultation with the doctor or the surgical explanation in the respective operating facility provide further information.
The persons responsible for the content of this website do not guarantee the completeness and correctness of the information, as constant changes, further developments and concretizations are made as a result of scientific research or adaptation of the guidelines by the medical societies.

Here you will find:

The frenulum lingual is a muscular fold covered with mucous membrane that connects the lower surface of the tongue with the floor of the mouth. In around 5% of all newborns, the tongue is too short, which can impair the mobility of the tongue in pronounced cases. With extreme shortening, the tongues appear notched or divided into two parts (ankyloglossia), especially when protruding.

A severely shortened frenulum of the tongue can lead to difficulties even in infancy. Sucking, drinking and swallowing are then hindered and breastfeeding becomes impossible.
A shortened frenulum can also have a negative effect on language development. The formation of sounds that arise with the help of the tip of the tongue (d, t, l, n, s) can be hindered because the tongue does not reach far enough.

Other possible consequences are changes in the dental arch and misaligned teeth, especially the incisors. Braces may be difficult to adjust later. In some cases, the unfavorable position of the tongue also leads to breathing with an open mouth (mouth breathing), which can be associated with an increased risk of infection.
In a small operation that can be carried out on an outpatient basis, the adhesion of the ligament of the tongue can be loosened and the tongue can move freely again.

What happens during this procedure?

The tongue is pulled up and held. Then the frenotomy can be cut through the tongue (frenotomy). A so-called frenoloplasty is performed more often. The tongue is cut in a Z or V / Y shape, which leads to an elongation. The wound is then sutured with self-dissolving sutures.

When does the doctor advise you to have this procedure?

If the shortening of the ligament of the tongue leads to impaired mobility of the tongue and breastfeeding difficulties, surgery should always be performed. The adhesions should then be loosened as early as possible - but no later than preschool age.
Other reasons for an early operation can be the risk of misaligned teeth or breathing through the mouth. Later problems, e.g. when kissing or fitting braces or prostheses, should also be considered.
Another reason: With tongue piercing, which is increasingly popular today, the tongue has to be pulled out relatively far. A tongue that is too short can tear.

Which stunning method is usually used?

The procedure is performed under a brief general anesthetic (reference: general anesthesia).

How long does the procedure take on average?

The procedure takes 20-25 minutes.

Who may not be suitable for this procedure?

Before the procedure, the anesthetist will check that you are able to be anesthetized. If the anesthesia poses too great a risk, the procedure may have to be postponed.

At the time of the procedure, your child should be perfectly healthy. Acute inflammation in the mouth area can also be a reason to postpone the procedure.

How is the risk to be assessed?

Shortening a ligament that is too long is a very low-risk procedure. As with any surgical procedure, complications cannot of course be ruled out one hundred percent.
Your doctor will explain to you in detail about such rare complications as wound healing disorders and inflammation before the operation.

What do you have to consider before the procedure?

On the day of the procedure, 6 hours before the anesthesia (anesthesia) your child should not eat anything or drink any more cloudy liquids! No clear liquids should be drunk 2 hours before the anesthesia (exception: preparation tablet (s) with a little water).
If your child takes medication regularly in the morning, please discuss with the anesthetist which medications they can still take before the anesthesia.

What happens after the procedure and what should be considered?

Even with the outpatient lengthening of the tongue ligament, your child will remain under observation for some time after the procedure - until it is fit enough to go home. The anesthesia will subside relatively quickly, so that your child will soon be responsive and alert again.
A supervisor must always be present at home 24 hours after the procedure.
Your child should not eat or drink anything until the anesthesia has worn off completely. Any pain that occurs after the anesthetic has subsided can be relieved with simple over-the-counter pain relievers, which you should use as directed by your doctor. Ice-cold drinks or food may also be perceived as soothing. Certain drinks such as fruit juices, carbohydrates or hot drinks should be avoided for the first two days. Opening the mouth, chewing and swallowing can be a little more difficult at first. Therefore, a liquid or pulpy diet is recommended.
After each ingestion of food, the mouth should be rinsed out with lukewarm water.

To prevent infection, oral hygiene must be maintained even after the procedure. However, vigorous rinsing or mouth rinsing should be avoided. Sometimes the doctor will recommend rinsing with chamomile tea or a disinfectant solution, but this should only be used as directed by the doctor.

When does the next doctor's appointment usually take place?

On the day of the procedure, your doctor will tell you when you should come back with your child for the next check-up. In the interest of your child, you should absolutely keep this appointment.
If your child has a fever, complains of severe pain or if bleeding occurs, you should contact the doctor immediately. Even if you are unsure and still have questions about the normal course of healing, in practice no one will be angry with you if you call for advice.