Why is the Academy of Medicine alarmed about frenotomy, which involves cutting babies’ brakes?

The frenotomy, this surgical gesture which consists in cutting the brake of the tongue of the babies, is more and more carried out. The Academy of Medicine published its latest recommendations on April 26, 2022.

One can only wonder in front of the spectacular increase, in France and in the world, of the lingual frenotomy which […] would allow breastfeeding to be both effective for the newborn and the infant, and painless for the mother“, alarmed the National Academy of Medicine in a communiqué published on April 26, 2022. In about ten years, the number of interventions has even increased by 420% in Australiadespite the lack of scientific studies concerning this practice.

Frenotomy, an operation that consists of surgically cut (with scissors or laser) a short and/or thick tongue frenulum pour “restore mobile tongue range of motion“, was previously recommended in the case of a ankyloglossieor a tongue tie that is too short and/or too inelastic.

Interventions offered “at excessive prices”

The Academy of Medicine regrets that this practice has now become a fashion outlet sometimes proposed “at excessive prices“in clinics or performed as a preventive measure and calls for vigilance. “In the absence of breastfeeding difficulties, the presence of a short and/or thick frenum does not in itself constitute an indication for frenotomy, which is a aggressive and potentially dangerous gesture for infants and newborns“, continues the press release.

Despite the simplicity of the surgical procedure, the doctors of the Academy highlight the need forinform parents about the occurrence of complications (even if they remain rare) such as haemorrhage, obstruction of the respiratory tract, refusal to breastfeed, infection or even an increase in the duration of breastfeeding after surgery.

Finally, in the presence of breastfeeding difficulties, the Academy of Medicine recommends that a rigorous diagnostic approach be carried out by professionals with university training, respecting evidence-based medicine and taking into account the overall state of the child supplemented by a rigorous anatomical evaluation. “The frenotomy, remaining exceptional, must be decided in conjunction with the attending physician or the pediatrician“, ends the press release.

Source :

  • “Lingual frenotomy in newborns and infants put on the brakes!”, National Academy of Medicine, April 26

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