Sydney Childrens Surgery Doctor Carolyn Russell and Doctor Anthony Dilley Paediatric Surgeons in Gymea Randwick Liverpool, tongue tie release

Tongue-tie Release Surgery, Sydney

We get many referrals of babies with feeding difficulties thought to be due to tongue tie. Not all children with a prominent lingual frenulum have a problem with tongue function, and we have found that around a third of babies we see end up not needing a tongue tie snip to get feeding back on track.

In our experience, one of the most helpful components of the feeding assessment in newborns with breastfeeding difficulties is ultrasound assessment of the breastfeeding in progress. This is done by one of our practice nurses at the Gymea office. We can formulate a management plan for you and your baby based on our assessment findings and the degree of feeding difficulty that is present.

The main concerns for the tongue tie snip procedure include the pain involved (we do use a local anaesthetic cream), the risk of bleeding requiring a stitch for control, and the small risk of scarring causing re-tethering of the tongue and a recurrence of the problem. When we are confident that a tongue tie is causing feeding problems, these concerns are ‘acceptable’. 

In some cases, if the mother is not experiencing significant pain or nipple damage, and alternate causes for the feeding difficulty seem to exist, non-surgical interventions can be tried for 5-7 days before a tongue tie snip is considered.

The assessment by our practice nurse can take up to an hour to collect the necessary information to help you make an informed choice.

Post-operative care

Aftercare following release of tongue tie in the newborn period:

The main concern following the procedure is the low risk (less than one in a hundred) of bleeding once you go home. You will be provided with emergency contact numbers at the time of the procedure so that your surgeon is contactable.

Most babies resume feeding within 15 minutes of the procedure. Feeding is usually better immediately after the procedure, and further improvement is usually observed over the three to four days that follow. You will be advised a safe dosage of Panadol to be used based on the weight of your baby.

NO stretching exercises will be suggested for your baby following the procedure.

Our practice nurse will contact you 4-5 days following the procedure to check progress. Review by your surgeon is not necessary if feeding is progressing well. If you have concerns or there is a family history of problematic scarring, then a review by your surgeon three weeks following the procedure will be recommended.

The risk of scarring requiring subsequent surgery following newborn tongue tie release is 1% in our practice. While a yellow scab like appearance under the tongue is normal following tongue tie release, wound infection is very rare.

If there are increased problems with feeding or redness/swelling under the chin, then contact your surgeon for advice.

Make an appointment at Sydney Children’s Surgery to see Dr Anthony Dilley in Gymea or Randwick, or Dr Carolyn Russell in Gymea, Randwick or Liverpool.

Please call 02-9540 4409 to speak with our helpful reception staff, or complete our online contact form.