June 7, 2018 – Tongue Tie


Anchor lead: Is a condition called tongue tie in infants associated with lower rates of breastfeeding? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Some infants have a bit of tissue beneath their tongues that renders it somewhat less mobile, and may compromise their ability to breastfeed. At least that’s the theory, but Jonathan Walsh, a pediatric head and neck surgeon at Johns Hopkins and one author of a recent review on the topic, says there’s a lot that’s not known about tongue tie and its management.

Walsh: The idea of tongue tie has been around for centuries. People have noticed  infants with the tissue underneath the tongue that’s tethering it. But it wasn’t until the early 90s that the World Health Organization and UNICEF really had a push to say hey, we should do better as a world to encourage breastfeeding. How best to support women to do it when it doesn’t go well? That’s where tongue tie comes in, and so we have seen significant rises in the diagnosis and treatment of tongue tie. What we don’t know is if these are overdiagnosis.  :33

Walsh says careful evaluation is key. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.