A tongue tie is the tethering of the soft tissue underneath the tongue, which stops children or adults from sticking their tongue out. Sometimes this can be quick to cut after birth if it is picked up, by making a small incision with a pair of scissors. Midwives will often do this when a baby is born. Occasionally if it is not picked up at birth it can be done in the early months in an outpatient clinic setting, again, with a minimal amount of local anaesthetic. Once a baby has got past a few months of age, it is more difficult to do it without giving a general anaesthetic and it would therefore be deferred until the child was older if the tongue tie was a problem.
Tongue ties can occasionally cause problems with speech and with feeding, and therefore they can be addressed at this young age. Sometimes a tongue tie does not pose a problem when a child is young, but can become more of a psychological problem when a child becomes older, and sometimes teenagers request a release of the tongue tie in order to have increased mobility of the tongue. This is a small procedure that can be undertaken at this age under a local anaesthetic. The tongue tie is released and some small dissolving sutures are placed. There are some small risks including infection and bleeding, but usually this is a straightforward and well tolerated procedure.