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Frenulectomy in Children


Frenulectomy, or frenulotomy, is surgery to remove a small piece of tissue called the frenulum. A frenulectomy for the tongue may be needed if your child has ankyloglossia (tongue-tie). This condition causes the frenulum to develop too close to the tip of your baby's tongue. The tongue becomes tied down and cannot move as freely as it should. A frenulectomy for the upper or lower lip can help your child's teeth come in correctly. A frenulectomy is usually done if the frenulum is too short, thick, or tight to be divided. Surgery may help your baby breastfeed or help your older child speak more clearly.


Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child refuses to feed at all.
  • Your child shows signs of dehydration from not feeding well. These signs may include urinating less than usual, crying without tears, or having dry, chapped lips. Your infant may have a sunken fontanel (soft spot) on the top of the head.
  • Your child has bleeding from his incision area that is heavy, does not stop, or causes him to choke.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your baby has problems with latching onto your breast during breastfeeding.
  • Your baby is not satisfied after feedings, or you are having severe nipple pain when breastfeeding.
  • You are concerned that your baby is not getting enough breast milk or formula during feedings.
  • You find breastfeeding painful.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has problems swallowing food.
  • Your child has problems saying some words or speaking.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


Your child may need any of the following:

  • Antibiotics help prevent or treat a bacterial infection.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him or her. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Speech therapy:

Your child's healthcare provider may recommend speech therapy for your older child. Therapy can help your child improve his ability to say certain sounds. The therapist may teach your child tongue exercises to do for 1 month. The exercises can help your child eat and speak normally and prevent tongue scars.

Prevent dehydration:

It may be painful for your child to swallow after surgery. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about the amount of liquid your child needs each day. Liquids help prevent dehydration. The provider may be able to suggest ways to make swallowing more comfortable.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Your child's healthcare provider may need to make sure your child is eating and healing well. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Learn more about Frenulectomy in Children (Discharge Care)

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