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Tongue Tie team publish paper

24 March 2014

A randomised trial comparing early frenotomy with usual care in mild–moderate tongue-tie showed that mothers could sustain breastfeeding of infants with tongue-tie for 5 days without a frenotomy.


Trial design   A randomised, parallel group, pragmatic trial.

Setting   A large UK maternity hospital.

Participants   Term infants <2 weeks old with a mild or moderate degree of tongue-tie, and their mothers who were having difficulties breastfeeding.

Objectives   To determine if immediate frenotomy was better than standard breastfeeding support.

Interventions   Participants were randomised to an early frenotomy intervention group or a ‘standard care’ comparison group.

Outcomes   Primary outcome was breastfeeding at 5 days, with secondary outcomes of breastfeeding self-efficacy and pain on feeding. Final assessment was at 8 weeks; 20 also had qualitative interviews. Researchers assessing outcomes, but not participants, were blinded to group assignment.

Results   107 infants were randomised, 55 to the intervention group and 52 to the comparison group. Five-day outcome measures were available for 53 (96%) of the intervention group and 52 (100%) of the comparison group, and intention-to-treat analysis showed no difference in the primary outcome—Latch, Audible swallowing, nipple Type, Comfort, Hold score. Frenotomy did improve the tongue-tie and increased maternal breastfeeding self-efficacy. At 5 days, there was a 15.5% increase in bottle feeding in the comparison group compared with a 7.5% increase in the intervention group.

After the 5-day clinic, 44 of the comparison group had requested a frenotomy; by 8 weeks only 6 (12%) were breastfeeding without a frenotomy. At 8 weeks, there were no differences between groups in the breastfeeding measures or in the infant weight. No adverse events were observed.

Conclusions   Early frenotomy did not result in an objective improvement in breastfeeding but was associated with improved self-efficacy. The majority in the comparison arm opted for the intervention after 5 days.

Archives of Disease in Childhood (Fetal Neonatal Edition)

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