Begin main content

Frenectomy for the Correction of Ankyloglossia: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines

Last updated: June 15, 2016
Project Number: RC0785-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Other Diagnostics
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of frenectomy for the correction of ankyloglossia in newborns and infants?
  2. What are the evidence-based guidelines regarding frenectomy for the correction of ankyloglossia in newborns and infants?

Key Message

The clinical effectiveness of frenectomy for the correction of ankyloglossia in newborns and infants was addressed by two systematic reviews, one randomized controlled trial, and four non-randomized studies. No evidence-based guidelines were identified; however, three guidance documents are discussed within a systematic review. Overall, there is evidence that frenectomy is a safe procedure with demonstration of benefit for short-term breastfeeding effectiveness as perceived by the mother. There is less robust evidence, and thus, more uncertainty regarding objective and long-term measurements of breastfeeding effectiveness, reduction of maternal breast and nipple pain and feeding problems, increased continuation and duration of breastfeeding, and proper growth. Quality concerns with the literature included subjective outcome measures, poor generalizability, potential confounding, and unclear reliability of pooled and poor quality data. Frenectomy may benefit children of mothers who wish to improve their perceived breastfeeding effectiveness, at least in the short-term. Accordingly, older guidance states that when appropriate and conducted by a qualified practitioner, frenectomy is safe and likely beneficial to the patient.