"Clipping the tongue"

  1. My 2 1/2 y/o son has speech delays and is seeing a speech pathologist. We have attributed most of his speech delays to him having a lot of ear infections and chronic fluid behind the eardrum for the first two years of his life. He got tubes put in his ears and his adenoids out last march, and no ear infections since then.

    Today he had a full developmental screening as part of the services he gets from the agency that will continue his speech therapy when he turns three. The doctor there noticed when he stuck out his tongue it could not stick out straight, it could only point down. On examination, the doc showed me how the little membrane underneath the tongue (called the frenulum, or something like that) was attached very close to the front and was restricting his tongue movement. We are supposed to see my sons ENT doctor next week to follow up on his tubes, and they told me to ask the doc to evaluate his frenulum. They said it was pretty common, and usually what they will do is clip the membrane to free the tongue.

    I was just wondering if anyone here had a child that had that and how the tongue clipping was done. Also how painful was it for the child? I know I will be able to talk to the doctor next week, but you know how it is when something is on your mind......

    Or does anyone work in an area where you see it done? Any info is appreciated.
  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   casperbjs
    My son had his done, when he was about 9 months old, the dr. caught it on examination, said it may cause him trouble later with speaking and clipped it right there in the office with small amount of bleeding. He did cry but only for a few minutes.
  4. by   renerian
    My dtr had it done but when she was a baby. I can't say whether it hurts or not. I was not present when they did it.

  5. by   memphispanda
    My son had his frenumlum clipped at 10 days...he couldn't nurse or drink from a bottle because his tongue was so restricted. He had "heart shaped tongue". Anyway, he screamed when it was done (I was holding him) and we gave him Tylenol for about 2 days. He was able to nurse within 60 seconds of having it done though. It really wasn't a big deal....didn't even bleed much.
  6. by   karenG
    we call that tongue tie over here!

    Yup, tongue tied. The ones that are severe enough we catch in the nursery, especially if they are restricting feeding capabilities. The doc just clips it. A little pressure, and they're fine.

    Good luck to you, let us know how it turns out!

  8. by   emily_mom
    My daughter also had it done, and she was fine.
  9. by   Q.
    Husband had it done in the nursery before discharge.
  10. by   Rustyhammer
    What age do you think is the upper limit for this proceedure?
    Originally posted by Rustyhammer
    What age do you think is the upper limit for this proceedure?
    Good question Rusty. The bigger the tongue, the more vascular it will be, and the risk for increased bleeding would be increased. But other than that, I can't imagine there is an age limit, per se.

    It does not have to be repaired if the degree to which the person is tongue tied isn't bad enought to interfere with anything important. The only reason it's caught alot at birth (before discharge) is because it's severe enough to restrict feeding, especially nursing. I've also heard of quite a few kids getting it done in their teens, right about the time they find out it affects their kissing ability.

    Last edit by OBNURSEHEATHER on Nov 14, '02
  12. by   Lausana
    Originally posted by OBNURSEHEATHER
    I've also heard of quite a few kids getting it done in their teens, right about the time they find out it affects their kissing ability.

    :chuckle A high school friend of mine had it done after we graduated, not severe enough to be problem...he just wanted it done. But he said it wasn't too bad. :uhoh21:
    Did it affect his speech at all? I've always wondered about that. None of the kids I see it with will talk to me.

  14. by   CountrifiedRN
    Thanks everyone! I'm glad to know it seems pretty simple. The speech pathologist that he saw yesterday recommended he get it done because he can't put his tongue in the position to make the "L" and "T" sounds. His tongue looks normal, but when he sticks it out it does resemble a heart shape! Wonder why his regular speech pathologist didn't catch that?

    The doc at the evaluation center told me that they would most likely put him to sleep to do it, I guess maybe because of his age? I'll let you all know how it goes, his appt with the ENT is on the 21st.