Effect of frenotomy on breastfeeding and reflux: results from the BRIEF prospective longitudinal cohort study

Kirsten W Slagter, Gerry M Raghoebar, Inge Hamming, Jiska Meijer, Arjan Vissink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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OBJECTIVES: To assess the Efficacy of Frenotomy with regard to Breastfeeding and Reflux Improvement (BRIEF) in infants with breastfeeding problems.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cohort of 175 consecutive breastfeeding women with breastfeeding and reflux problems related to a tongue-tie or lip-tie fulfilling the inclusion criteria was longitudinally followed for 6 months. The effect of frenotomy on these problems was studied by a standardized oral assessment and completing the validated Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Short Form (BSES-SF), nipple pain score (Visual Analogue Scale, VAS), and Infant Gastroesophageal Reflux Questionnaire Revised (I-GERQ-R) questionnaires pre-frenotomy and at 1 week, 1 month, and 6 months' post frenotomy.

RESULTS: All 175 women completed the 1-month follow-up and 146 women the 6 months' follow-up. Frenotomy resulted in a significant improvement of BSES-SF, nipple pain score, and I-GERQ-R after 1 week, which improvement maintained to be significant after 1 month for BSES-SF and I-GERQ-R, and after 6 months for I-GERQ-R. The improvements were irrespective of the type lip-tie or tongue-tie underlying the breast feeding and reflux problems. No post-operative complications were observed. About 60.7% of infants still was breastfed 6 months after treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Frenotomy is a safe procedure with no post-operative complications and resulting in significant improvement of breastfeeding self-efficacy, nipple pain, and gastro-oesophageal reflux problems.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Frenotomy of a tongue-tie and or lip-tie can lead to improvement of breastfeeding and reflux problems irrespective of the type of tongue-tie or lip-tie and should be considered by clinicians as a proper tool to resolve these problems if non-interventional support did not help.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbers00784-020-03665-y
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Oral Investigations
Early online date14-Dec-2020
Publication statusPublished - 14-Dec-2020


  • Ankyloglossia
  • Lip-tie
  • Breastfeeding
  • Self-efficacy
  • Patient outcome assessment
  • Gastroesophageal reflux

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