A frenotomy which is also known as a frenectomy, frenulectomy, or frenulotomy is the removal of a frenulum, a small fold of tissue that prevents an organ in the body from moving too far. It can refer to frenula in several places on the human body, but more often than not it refers to the lingual or tongue frenotomy which is a membrane below the tongue. The lingual frenotomy cutting or removing the tissue below the tongue, is often done to remove the frenulum in newborn infants in the United States and other countries to improve breast-feeding and make it more successful and more comfortable. If abnormal, that condition is called "ankyloglossia" or tongue-tie.
Tongue-tie or ankyloglossia is a condition that restricts the tongue's range of motion. With tongue-tie, short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) holds the bottom of the tongue's tip to the floor of the mouth. A person who has tongue-tie might have difficulty sticking out his or her tongue. Tongue-tie can also interfere with breast-feeding and later on it could affect the way a child eats, speaks and swallows, as well as. Some believe that tongue-tie or ankyloglossia affects a person's speech.
Oftentimes the lingual frenulum loosens over time and tongue-tie resolves on its own. In other cases, tongue-tie persists without causing problems. Tongue-tie can be treated with a simple surgical procedure called a frenotomy. If additional repair is needed or the lingual frenulum is too thick for frenotomy, a more extensive procedure known as frenuloplasty might be an option.