Background and Aims Breastfeeding is considered the golden standard in neonatal nutrition. One of the complications encountered in breastfeeding is tongue-tie (ankyloglossia), which may eventually lead to aborting breastfeeding. Frenotomy is considered a harmless and effective procedure for ankyloglossia. However, different researchers question the positive effects and emphasize the possible complications, especially when the procedure is performed without general anaesthesia. Aim of our study is to describe the outcomes of frenotomy in neonates.
Methods The data of a series of 166 breastfed neonates (110 male, 56 female) with ankyloglossia and breastfeeding problems under 3 months of age were collected. In these neonates frenotomy was performed between January 2008 en 2012 by an experienced paediatrician in the outpatient clinic without general anaesthesia. Parent(s) attended the procedure and (breast)feeding was given within minutes after frenotomy. One week after frenotomy, data on complications and effects on breastfeeding were collected by a telephone interview with one of the parents.
Results 34 Neonates (20%) were lost to follow-up after frenotomy. Of the remaining 132 neonates, 117 (89%) reported improvement in breastfeeding (better latch, less nipple pain or fully breastfed). 12 (9%) Reported no improvement. Improvement was controversial in 3 neonates (2%) because of additional problems affecting breastfeeding. Minor complications were reported in 5 patients (4%). These consisted of need for a mild analgesic or minimal bleeding up to 1–2 minutes. No major side effects were reported.
Conclusions Frenotomy without general anaesthesia is a safe and very effective procedure in neonates with tongue-tie experiencing breastfeeding problems.