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Frenulectomy in Adults

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What do I need to know about frenulectomy?

Frenulectomy is surgery to remove a small piece of tissue called the frenulum. You may need surgery if the frenulum attached to the center of your upper lip is too thick and causes a large gap between your teeth. This can lead to your gums being pulled too far off your teeth (called gum recession). You may also need this surgery if you have dentures that move because the frenulum pulls them out of place. Less commonly, the frenulum under your tongue may need to be removed. This surgery is more common in children. You may need this surgery if you had tongue-tie as a child that was not corrected and is causing speech problems.

How do I prepare for surgery?

Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare for surgery. The provider may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of surgery. The provider will tell you which medicines to take or not take before surgery. You may get an antibiotic through your IV to prevent a bacterial infection.

What will happen during surgery?

You will get local anesthesia to numb the area. You will be awake, but you should not feel pain. Your healthcare provider will hold your tongue or lip out of the way. The frenulum and some tissue around it will be cut with medical scissors, a laser, or an electrocautery device. This device is a needle that is heated by electricity. After the tissue is removed, the incision will be closed with stitches or with heat from the laser or device.

What can I expect after surgery?

You may have some mild pain, swelling, or bleeding after surgery. This is normal and should stop in a few days. If you received stitches, they will dissolve on their own. It may be painful or difficult for you to swallow after surgery, but it is important to drink liquids. Liquids help prevent dehydration. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

What are the risks of frenulectomy?

You may bleed more than expected during surgery.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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