October 06, 2011

Posterior Tongue Tie

An ordinary garden-variety tongue tie (also known as ankyloglossia) is an uncommon condition whereby the tongue is anchored to the floor of the mouth preventing the tongue tip from moving freely.

Patients with tongue tie have greater difficulty with:
  • feeding if infant
  • speech if school-age child
  • french kissing if young adult (more info on adult tongue ties here)
Treatment is tongue tie release which can be done at any time if difficulties arise. In infants and young adults, this procedure can be done in the office under local anesthesia only. In school age kids, it typically requires sedation given lack of cooperation with keeping the mouth open and tongue still.

Posterior Tongue Tie

Though tongue tie is uncommon, there is an even more uncommon (or perhaps less recognized) subtype called submucus tongue tie or posterior tongue tie.

This condition is when the tongue tie is hidden UNDER the mucus lining of the tongue/mouth. You can't see this type of tongue tie, but you can feel it if you run the finger underneath the tongue from side to side where the tongue tie would be. One would feel a tissue band (speed-bump sensation with finger sweep) where the tongue tie would be.

Treatment is a bit more complicated than a regular tongue tie release in that the mucus lining has to be incised in order to expose the tongue tie prior to release. Once the tongue tie is released, the incision is sutured closed.

Read more about this condition and treatment here.

Watch video on the treatment of this condition.

Another less known condition is upper lip tie which may also cause breast-feeding difficulty.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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