Nipple pain at presentation predicts success of tongue-tie division for breastfeeding problems.Eur J Pediatr Surg 2009; 19(6):370-3EJ
In mother-infant pairs experiencing breastfeeding difficulties, frenulotomy for tongue-tie may improve breastfeeding. We tested the hypothesis that those experiencing nipple pain are most likely to benefit from the procedure in a prospective cohort study.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Mother-infant pairs attending a dedicated clinic for the assessment and treatment of tongue-tie completed a standardised, structured symptom questionnaire. Three months later outcome was assessed by questionnaire. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to determine preoperative predictors of successful outcome.
Sixty-two infants <90 days old underwent frenulotomy and completed follow-up. At presentation, 52 mothers (84%) reported nipple pain, and 32 mothers (52%) nipple trauma. Three months after frenulotomy, 78% of respondents were still breastfeeding. Feed lengths (mean reduction: 17 mins; p<0.001) and time between feeds (mean increase: 38 mins; p<0.001) had significantly improved, as had difficulty of feeding (mean improvement in self-rated difficulty score: 42%; p<0.001). Those having difficulty breastfeeding due to nipple pain showed a significant long-term benefit from frenulotomy; pre-frenulotomy nipple pain was associated with an increased likelihood of breastfeeding at 3 months in adjusted multivariate analysis (OR 5.8 [95% CI 1.1-31.6]).
Mother-infant pairs with tongue-tie and breastfeeding difficulties due to nipple pain are most likely to benefit from frenulotomy.