June 8, 2018 – Treating Tongue Tie


Anchor lead: If you’re told your infant has tongue tie, should it be treated? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Women are encouraged to breastfeed their infants, but a condition called ‘tongue tie,’ where the infant’s tongue may have additional tissue beneath it that reduces its mobility, is sometimes the reason breastfeeding is difficult or impossible. Yet increasing rates of both diagnosis and treatment of tongue tie are concerning. That’s according to Jonathan Walsh, a pediatric head and neck surgeon at Johns Hopkins and one author of a recent review of tongue tie.

Walsh: With tongue tie I feel like my job is to inform the parents as best as I can. But also to give them realistic expectations that it does help many infants but not all breastfeeding difficulties are tongue tie. And I think when the mother can make a more informed choice about does she take the risk of this procedure within the first week or two weeks of life of her child. That there’s appropriate expectations and appropriate management and care teams surrounding them to say hey, if it doesn’t work, what’s our next step?  :29

Walsh encourages parents to seek out a comprehensive approach to tongue tie. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.