What is a tethered tongue?
A tethered tongue (or, tongue tie) is also known as ankyloglossia. It occurs during development when the front of the tongue is anchored to the floor of the mouth by a piece of tissue called the frenulum. This can limit movement of the tongue and infrequently causes speech or feeding problems. The actual incidence is unknown, but is estimated to occur in 3-5 percent of newborns, with a slight prevalence in boys.
FAQs about Tethered Tongue
Most children with tethered tongues will not require surgery. Less than half may symptoms severe enough to warrant surgery. A “frenuloplasty” is performed under general anesthesia by cutting across the tether in a linear or zig-zag fashion. The final effect is to eliminate the tether and allow for greater tongue mobility. Sutures are absorbable and do not require removal. The surgery takes less than 30 minutes and can be done on an outpatient basis.
Recovery from tethered tongue release is relatively simple. Infants immediately return to bottle or breast feeding. In older children, a regular diet can be resumed. The sutures fall out on their own in 3 to 4 weeks. No other special precautions need to be taken.
Fortunately, complications from tethered tongue release (or, frenuloplasty) are rare. Typical surgical risks include bleeding, infection, or anesthesia complications. Scarring is negligible. The greatest risk is partial recurrence of the tether. This rarely requires correction.
Why choose Dr Panossian
- He received his medical education at Tufts University School of Medicine.
- Graduated at the top of his class at UCLA, receiving Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude honors.
- Was accepted into an elite combined general surgery and plastic surgery residency at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
- Completed subspecialty training in craniofacial surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Harvard Medical School.
- Was mentored by Dr. Ron Zuker in the practice of facial paralysis reconstruction. This prestigious fellowship position was available to only one surgeon in the United States.
- Is affiliated with various charitable and educational organizations, including Operation Smile and Mending Kids.
- Is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the highly selective American Association of Plastic Surgeons, reserved for only a select group of individuals nationally who have demonstrated excellence in academic plastic surgery.
- Holds memberships in several other professional societies including the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.
- He serves on the Board of Directors for Mending Kids and the Gondobay Manga Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of lives in Sierra Leone.
- Has been nominated by his peers annually since 2012 as a “Super Doctor.”
- Served as an expert medical consultant and appeared on The Doctors, Grey’s Anatomy, and Nip/Tuck.
- Has been featured as “Top Doctor” in US News and World Report, Pasadena Magazine, and Los Angeles Magazine.
Last modified by Dr. Andre Panossian