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Laser Tongue Tie Release: Advantages and Success Rates

Tongue tie is a condition present at birth that restricts the infant’s tongue movement and affects breastfeeding, eating, and speaking. Tongue tie also limits the movement of the tongue tip to the lips, cheeks, and mouth, which can result in speech problems and even difficulty eating or drinking adequate nutrition. The good news is that a straightforward, pain-free solution exists: laser tongue tie release.

Recent Kunduru et al. data indicates a 94% success rate over a 5-year follow up in releasing restriction and improving function when using the Erbium:Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (Er:YAG) 2940 nm resurfacing (ibilase ) device in Laser Assisted Tongue Tie Release (LATR) procedure . Additionally, it has been reported to be safer, faster, less painful, and more accurate than traditional techniques such as radiofrequency Co-ablation, scissor division and electrical cautery.

Advantages of Laser-Assisted Tongue Tie Release

More accurate than traditional techniques: the LATR procedure offers a tremendous advantage over traditional procedures. As the laser light is focused on the extreme part of the tissues to be treated, the surgeon has better control over the intensity and spot size to remove only the narrow restriction.
Less pain: As compared to other traditional techniques, the laser-assisted procedure is less painful for the baby. The laser is able to remove the restriction with less trauma to the underlying tissues and results in less pain for the infant.
Faster recovery time: Laser tongue tie release offers the fastest recovery with less bleeding and fibrosis or scaring due to the minimally invasive nature of the technique.
Better results: According to Kunduru et al., the LATR procedure has a 94% success rate for releasing the restriction and improving function, while recent studies for the radiofrequency coablation have been reported a 62% success rate, 70% for the scissor division and 79% for the electrical cauterization procedures.

Primary factors to Consider when Deciding on Tongue Tie Release

Laser-assisted procedure can be an attractive option for parents or caregivers of infants with tongue tie because of its many advantages. However, when dual tongue ties are present, the decision must be made whether to release the ties or leave them to allow the tongue to heal and correct itself over time. Mulligan et al. published the main risk factors for clipping (according to Mis et al.) divided into 3: Bleeding, infection and not being able to feed easily. There is a lower risk of the baby bleeding or getting an infection in the wound when using the laser tongue tie-release technique, but it is recommended that parents fully consider the benefits and risks of the procedure before making a decision. It is always wise to consult with a lactation specialist and a pediatrician before moving forward with the procedure.

Preparation and Aftercare for Laser Tongue Tie Release

The child having the procedure should avoid eating, drinking, or using pacifiers for four hours prior to the procedure. Additionally, the child will be treated with numbing solution to avoid any discomfort during the procedure.

After the procedure, parents should be instructed to provide their children regular feeds of breast milk or formula that will help them recover without discomfort. The child will likely become fussy, as the procedure may cause some pain and soreness in the area. Soft swabs and teething rings can be used to soothe the baby’s mouth. Also, gentle stretches may be recommended by the surgeon to reduce scarring and aid in healing.

Conclusion

Laser-assisted tongue-tie release is the best and most reliable way to treat the condition and improve function. This technique offers advantages over other traditional techniques, making it the best choice for many parents. However, the procedure must be carefully considered and discussed with a lactation consultant and a pediatrician before moving forward. With proper preparation and care following the treatment, the procedure offers a very low rate of complications and is a very effective treatment for treasure parents and caregivers.