Ankyloglossia (tongue-tie) was viewed as a normal human variation, a dimple, without physiological consequences not so very long ago. Teaching then was that surgically untethering the affected tongue was a barbaric act of no proven value. Reports from a variety of sources over the last few decades have slowly chiseled away at that construct. True ankyloglossia (not just the presence of a prominent frenulum) does appear to affect the breastfeeding infant, acting as an obstacle to taking adequate breast milk, which can lead to reduced maternal milk production leading in turn to a spiraling descent ending with discontinuation of breast feeding at an early age.
From the University of Western Australia comes a report from Garbin et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-2651) in which dramatic increases in breast milk consumption, based on pre-breast feeding and post-breast feeding weights, occurred in infants who had been struggling feeders before tongue release, within days after frenulectomy. There is more to be said about this study, but it seems to have “slipped my tongue,” so read about it online or in the Case Report section of the November issue of Pediatrics.