POTENTIAL RISKS OF FRENOTOMY
Frenotomy is a quick procedure that is considered safe. However, with any procedure of this nature there are some potential risks.
Before you leave the clinic the tongue-tie practitioner will ensure there is no bleeding from the wound. However, there is a possibility bleeding may start after you leave the clinic. If this happens:
Feed your baby as this helps to stop any bleeding or apply continuous pressure for 5 minutes with a clean dry cloth or gauze swab (do not use cotton wool) and the bleeding should stop.
If after five minutes the bleeding has not stopped, use a fresh clean, dry cloth and apply continuous pressure to the wound again, for another five minutes.
Make sure you are applying pressure to the wound. Hold the cloth at all times and do not leave it in your baby’s mouth.
Do not apply pressure under the baby's chin as this can block the airway.
If after feeding or applying pressure the bleeding has not stopped, or if at any time you are concerned about your baby’s wellbeing, we advise you to go to your local Emergency Department (ED). Keep continuous pressure under your baby’s tongue using a clean cloth until the bleeding has stopped or you have arrived in the ED. the information pack supplied to you will contain directions for the ED doctors on how to manage further bleeding.
This can occur in around 4% of babies after tongue division. The tissues around the mouth heal quickly. The best thing to do to prevent this is to feed your baby regularly. At present there is insufficient evidence for wound massage.
The risk of infection is very small, however, please contact your GP, if your baby does suffer from the following in the first few days following the procedure:
Babies may feel some pain after the procedure and if your baby does cry more than normal this usually settles within 24 hours. To settle your baby, it helps to continue to feed them, have skin to skin contact and cuddle your baby regularly. Some babies may need pain relief – the options available are:
For babies under 8 weeks of age some topical teething gel can be used (e.g. Dentinox Baby Teething Gel or Teetha)
For babies over 8 weeks and over 4kg- Paracetamol (e.g. Calpol) can be given without a prescription (always read the label. Do not exceed the recommended dose).
Difficulty feeding after the procedure
Babies will feed differently after the procedure as the tongue is able to move more freely. They have adapted to their way of swallowing with a restricted tongue, and now need to re-learn the skill of feeding. This takes time. Although some babies adapt quickly and show improvement immediately, most will slowly improve over 1-6 weeks. During this time they can be unsettled and tire easily. The best way to help your baby along is regular feeds lots of skin to skin, ongoing lactation support, and mouth and body work, including tummy time, at home ( see aftercare page).
If your baby is unable to latch on and breastfeed try giving some of your expressed breast milk from a spoon that has been sterilised to try and calm them. Then try again to breastfeed your baby.
If you are using formula milk to feed your baby and they are reluctant to take the teat try giving some milk from a spoon that has been sterilised to try and calm them.
If your baby’s feeding improves but then becomes a problem again, please contact the lacation consultant you have seen prior to the procedure.