Article Text

other Versions

PDF
To snip or not to snip: the dilemmas of tongue-tie
  1. Anne Lawson
  1. Correspondence to Anne Lawson, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Great North Children's Hospital, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK; Anne.Lawson{at}nuth.nhs.uk

Statistics from Altmetric.com

As a medical student I was taught by an eminent paediatric surgeon that tongue-tie never required treatment “unless they wanted to play the trumpet” and as a registrar I was appalled to find that a consultant paediatrician was snipping tongue-ties in the clinic—a practice I had been taught was “unnecessary, dangerous and cruel”. However, when approached 10 years ago by an experienced midwifery colleague whose own tongue-tied infant was having great difficulty in breast feeding and failing to thrive, I was surprised to find that, although not of high quality, there was reported evidence for the treatment of tongue-tie to help breast feeding and no published scientific information against it. Since then further evidence has been collected and the paper by Emond et al1 adds to our knowledge.

Although considerable effort is expended on breastfeeding promotion in the UK, there is still frequent failure to support mothers who have already decided to breastfeed, but meet difficulties. Initiation rates have risen to >80%, but exclusive and partial breastfeeding rates still fall rapidly in the first week and 6 weeks, with exclusive breast feeding until 6 months, as recommended by the WHO, being a rarity. This suggests that promotion is not now the most important step, but rather support and intervention to correct early problems stopping a mother and baby from achieving successful breast feeding. Tongue-tie is an abnormality associated …

View Full Text

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles