It is the opinion of many health care providers that all tongue-ties can be released with a “simple” single snip with scissors. However, in reality, that is often not the case. These “simple” snips can often leave behind a significant posterior tie that can still significantly interfere with breast and bottle feeding as well as lead to other adverse effects later in life.
This case shows a baby who clearly had an incomplete scissor release on its second day of life (see Figure 1, 3rd-day post-scissor release). On the baby’s fifth day of life, only 3-days later, the baby was taken to see Dr. Riek because the baby was still having significant difficulty breastfeeding. After a thorough examination, Dr. Riek diagnosed a posterior tongue-tie and advised the parents that a second and final release of the baby’s tongue-tie could greatly benefit the baby’s ability to latch and suck properly.
Traditionally, a tongue-tie revision (a second release) is not performed until there is full healing of the surgical site (i.e. 1-2 months after). Otherwise, excessive bleeding may occur from unhealed inflamed tissues. However, Dr. Riek was confident that she could perform this revision because of her experience, skill, and with help from her LightScalpel CO2 laser. Dr. Riek was able to easily and properly release the tongue without bleeding or any adverse side effects using a LightScalpel CO2 laser (see Figure 2, immediate post-laser revision).
The release of an infant tongue-tie with the LightScalpel CO2 laser is a quick and gentle procedure that, in most cases, is bloodless and requires no sutures. The LightScalpel laser offers many advantages over traditional surgical methods, such as minimized bleeding, less swelling and discomfort, reduced risk of infection, shortened procedure time, and smoother recovery.
Thank you Dr. Riek for kindly sharing this case.
Dr. Riek graduated from Arizona State University with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. She is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner in addition to having her IBCLC certification. Dr. Riek is also a diplomate of the American Board of Laser Surgery, specializing in “Oral Surgery in Infants, Toddler, and Adults.” She has also recently earned her certification as a Certified Specialist in Orofacial Myology (CSOM).
Dr. Riek describes her career as a diversifying adventure: research, teaching, nursing, and now breastfeeding medicine specialist. She strives to provide meaningful, evidence-based care to mother-baby dyads. Her mission is to support mothers where they are at and help them journey into the breastfeeding relationship they desire. She strives to make sure that each patient is able to reach their desired goal and have an amazing breastfeeding relationship.