Ankyloglossia: Last three-years of outpatient care at a tertiary referral center.Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 2019; 126:109599IJ
Ankyloglossia is an oral anomaly characterized by a shortened, thickened lingual frenulum that may cause reduced tongue mobility. However, the diagnosis and management of this condition has long been a debated topic. Given the paucity of high level evidence, management can be frustrating for both families and clinicians. Our study aims to examine differences in the management of ankyloglossia and investigate influencing factors at a single tertiary pediatric referral center.
A retrospective chart review was completed of children less than one year of age seen in the outpatient otolaryngology clinic. Billing records were searched for ICD-9 code 750.0 (ankyloglossia) between January 2, 2015 and October 9, 2017 and data extracted from the charts of those meeting inclusion criteria.
A total of 266 charts were reviewed that met the inclusion criteria during the study period. 100 (38%) were female with a mean age of 2.9 months. In the final multivariate regression model, children seen by providers in Group 1 (providers with high rates of frenotomies) had 4.4 times the odds of having a frenotomy as those seen by a provider in Group 2 (providers with low rates of frenotomies) (p < 0.001, 95%CI: 2.2, 8.9), and male children had 2.5 times the odds of having a frenotomy as female children (p = 0.002, 95%CI: 1.4, 4.5).
In this study we identify additional variables that may influence the decision to perform a frenotomy in children with ankyloglossia. The significant impact of clinician biases in the management of ankyloglossia suggests arbitrary differences in the way these patients are managed, highlighting the lack of consensus amongst otolaryngologists and the need for clear indications and diagnostic criteria.