Caregiver Perception of Speech Quality in Patients with Ankyloglossia: Comparison Between Surgery and Non-Treatment

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Our objective was to determine if there are differences in caregiver perception of speech for patients that undergo frenulectomy compared to patients that were not surgically treated.


Ankyloglossia is a controversial topic without standardized treatment guidelines. Although there have been several studies suggesting that breastfeeding does improve after frenulectomy, there is a paucity of literature that investigates the relationship between ankyloglossia and speech.


A retrospective chart review was conducted to identify patients with ankyloglossia. Patients were categorized into surgical treatment (frenulectomy) and non-treatment groups. Caregivers of both groups were contacted by phone and surveyed on speech quality and tongue mobility using Likert scores. Mann Whitney-U testing was used to determine if there were significant differences in perceived speech quality between the surgical and non-surgical groups.


The caregivers of seventy-seven patients participated in the phone survey: 46 (60%) children in the surgical group and 31 (40%) children in the non-surgical group who participated in the phone survey. There were no differences in difficulty with speech (p = 0.484) and tongue mobility (p = 0.064) between the two groups. However, patients that underwent surgical intervention for ankyloglossia reported less difficulty with tongue tasks (p < 0.001) compared to those who were not surgically treated. Additionally, 50% of patients that underwent surgery had a documented family history of ankyloglossia which was significantly higher than 16.1% in the non-surgical group (p = 0.002).


It appears that children with ankyloglossia might have similar speech quality following frenulectomy in comparison to speech quality without treatment. Children who undergo frenulectomy may experience improvements in tongue tasks. This data should encourage further research on the management of speech concerns in children with ankyloglossia.


This article was published in International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, Volume 119, pages 70-74.

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2019.01.019.

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V.

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