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Tongue Tie Surgery: What to Expect During and After

Tongue tie surgery is a procedure that can help people who have difficulty with their tongue function. This includes difficulty speaking, as well as trouble with eating, drinking, and swallowing. When considering tongue tie surgery, it is important to understand what to expect both during and after the procedure.

What is Tongue Tie Surgery?

The medical term for a tongue tie is ankyloglossia. This is a condition in which the tongue has limited movement due to tightness of the tissue, or a short membrane between the tongue and the floor of the mouth. Tongue tie surgery, also known as frenectomy or frenotomy, is a surgical procedure that involves cutting or correcting the affected tissue in order to improve tongue function.

What to Expect During Tongue Tie Surgery

Prior to undergoing tongue tie surgery, the surgeon will discuss the procedure and any necessary preparation with the patient. This may include information about any required preoperative fasting, as well as other potential risks and complications. The patient will also receive information about the anesthesia that will be used during the surgery.

Tongue tie surgery can be performed as an outpatient procedure in a hospital or surgical center. The patient will be placed under anesthesia to ensure their comfort during the surgery. The surgeon will then use a laser or a scalpel to make a small incision in the affected tissue in order to allow for unimpeded tongue movement.

Depending on the severity of the tongue tie, surgery can take anywhere from a few minutes to 30 minutes. Once the incision has been made, the patient will be monitored for a short period of time in order to ensure that there are no complications, such as excessive bleeding.

What to Expect After Tongue Tie Surgery

Following tongue tie surgery, the patient will be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids in order to prevent dehydration. However, any type of food or drink that is acidic, cold, or hot should be avoided for the first 24 to 48 hours in order to avoid any pain or irritation. Some patients may experience minor to moderate pain and swelling in the affected area after the surgery. This can typically be managed with over-the-counter pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Additionally, the patient’s surgeon may provide them with a bandage or two to be applied to the affected area. This will help to protect the area and prevent any infection. The bandages should be changed as directed by the surgeon, and the patient should be careful not to pick and scratch at the incision site.

Recovery and Follow-up Care After Tongue Tie Surgery

Most patients are able to resume their normal activities within a few days after the surgery. However, physical activity should be avoided for at least two weeks to minimize the risk of any injury or reopening of the incision. In addition, patients should be careful not to take any over-the-counter and prescription medications that may interfere with the surgical incision, as well as drinking any fluids that are too hot or cold.

Furthermore, the patient’s surgeon will schedule a postoperative follow-up appointment in order to assess the patient’s recovery and ensure that the incision has healed properly. At this time, the patient may also be given information about oral tongue exercises that can be performed in order to improve tongue movement and prevent the formation of new adhesions.


Tongue tie surgery is a safe and effective way to help patients improve their tongue function. By understanding what to expect both during and after the procedure, as well as the postoperative care that is required, patients can ensure the best possible results from their surgery. If you or a loved one is considering tongue tie surgery, be sure to consult with a qualified surgeon in order to have all your questions and concerns addressed.