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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.


Our Experience with Tongue and Upper Lip Tie Revision Laser Surgery

Our Experience with Tongue and Upper Lip Tie Revision Laser Surgery   BreastfeedingPlace.com  #liptie #surgery #breastfeedingMy son was born with an upper lip tie. I didn’t recognize the issues we were having were related to his poor latch until he was already established at the breast. I had to fight for a referral to the right specialist to even have him checked out and it seemed no one would take me seriously. I was struggling with breastfeeding through a lip tie for most of my son’s life because I was told that I would have to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket on top of the cost to travel to a  laser surgery professional to do the upper lip tie revision. I managed through the painful nursing sessions and I kept telling myself that maybe one day we can justify the surgery for some later issue like gap teeth or speech delays.

Thankfully, another local mama asked a question about a professional in the area and stressed that she needed it done for the sake of her breastfeeding relationship. It was then shared that a doctor in the Tampa Bay area took nearly every insurance, catered to low-income families, and took every single parent seriously. Consultations were free, so we decided to check it out. Because my son was sick we scheduled the laser surgery two weeks out. Thankfully, the Children’s Surgery Center was easier to find once the time came.

lip tie

Laser surgery has very little bleeding and after pain involved. However, for accuracy it is important to keep the patient still. General anesthesia is not necessary for smaller infants because they don’t move too much. The numbing creme is enough for pain, though infants will cry because the procedure can seem scary. Since my son is older, wiggly, and quite strong I decided to opt for the anesthesia. Because he was going under, I had to not nurse him after midnight. Ladies and gentlemen, that was the hardest part.

Intake took longer than the revision itself. The procedure took about four minutes total. Once he started to wake up, they called me into recovery. He was very groggy and seemed “drunk.” He started to whine so I sat down to nurse him. I noticed a difference right away! After a good, long session he passed out. I got him to the car without waking him (rare) and then once we got home I got him to the crib (which is very weird) without him waking up once! He must have been tired from flopping around in the bed and yelling at me all night long. Go figure.

lip tie laser revision

Adjusting to his new lip took a few sessions. We continued with the stretches for a week or so and we still like to check it out every now and then to make sure his new frenulum stays intact. You can see his teeth now when he smiles, and he’s stopped doing this lip adjustment motion he used to do while nursing. Overall it was a great success!

Have you considered a lip tie revision for your little one? Did you have it done? How did it affect your breastfeeding relationship?


Shary Lopez is a late-twenties, nerdy gal living in Tampa Bay. Her family consists of a bearded husband and two children: one eight-year-old daughter and one very adventurous toddler boy. As a childbirth junkie and breastfeeding advocate, Shary tries to lean her family towards natural living while still grasping onto convenience and frugality. You can find more of her writings on Shary's personal blog, Atta Mama. Shary is also on social networking sites such as FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Comments

  1. Heather Pease says:

    Hi there, My name is Heather and I wish I had found this website sooner! I struggled with my daughter having an upper lip tie until she was weaned, although she managed to find her own way of nursing. I had no idea why I was having the problems I was and why nursing was so difficult for us. No one ever even looked in her mouth to see if she had a mouth issue. Thankfully she was a very healthy happy boob fed baby and we did great, but had I known I would have had it fixed. Thank you for Sharing the info here and letting others know what to look for.

  2. Crystal says:

    How did the lip tie affect breastfeeding? My last 3 have been smaller (for me) babies with lip ties. I have been told by the doctors that it won’t affect nursing but we have had weight gain issues and supplemented with formula. My 1st 4 babies were exclusively breastfed and grew well. Is the lip tie keeping them from nursing enough to grow well? My 2 older babies have fallen and busted their mouth and breaking the tire in the process. Now I have a 7 week old with a tie and he is slow growing. My supply is affected by something. … maybe his tie?

  3. My son had a lip tie like this that separated his front teeth. I also had one when I was a baby. I was breastfed, as was my son. To my knowledge, my mom didn’t have issues breastfeeding and neither did I. I had surgery on mine at age 4. I had already contacted my dentist about my son’s tie when he was about 1 year and he was going to refer us to a pediatric dentist. However, my son fell off of an ottoman and broke the tie. Yes, there was a ton of blood! We took him to the pediatrician and they said it was perfectly fine. He is almost 2 now and his teeth have grown together, closing the gap. It’s pretty crazy how the human body works.

    • sharylove says:

      It is common for kids to break their lip ties for sure. As I hinted towards in my experiences above, we adjusted in our own way because I was refused the correction in his infancy. I’m sure we could have continued on with our system of relatching and adjustments throughout each session, but I’m grateful to have had it corrected because we’re able to breastfeeding more efficiently now.

  4. would you be willing to share the name of the Dr? I am about an hour south of Tampa and am possible in need of their services. Im taking my 9 week old to her Pediatrician to confirm my assumption of lip tie and am anticipating having a difficult time finding a Dr to rectify her issue. Article was great thank you so much for sharing !

  5. I’m curious about your overall experience with the anesthesia. We were told it was necessary for our 13 month old to have her lip/tongue tie reversed (laser). She’s also super strong and won’t sit still so I can see the point there. I’ve posted this question on various boards/support groups and the general consensus says to find a new provider. I’m so glad I found someone who went through with it as I’d love to hear your thoughts on the sedation.

    • My little man was older and also strong. He was a little loopy afterwards, but the risk of using anesthesia is often linked to infants only. I totally trusted my provider and he acknowledged my concerns and straight up told me that were my son littler he’d recommend against it. I think it is a choice entirely up to the mother. My care provider gave me the option so I personally went with the anesthesia for our situation.

    • My daughter had the procedure done on September 17 and they did the consult then proceeded w the procedure via laser. She did not require sedation since she was 2 weeks but within 2 days she was fully using her lip correctly. She did end up having a posterior tongue tie that he fixed also and immediately after the procedure (that I was right there for and helped hold her still) we begun breastfeeding and she knew right away how to use her tongue correctly. I have had 2 previous children tongue tied and they were sadated w no problems. It’s a 5-10 min procedure n they wake up 5 mins later. Same w my previous child that was lip tied. If it helps I’ve also experienced 10 procedures for tubes w 5 children that never had problems. I know how you feel though!!!

  6. Thank you for sharing your experience! I wish I had known more when my daughter was born! I’m pretty sure she has a mild tongue tie and a mild to moderate upper lip tie. I noticed within 2 weeks that the tip of her tongue was heart shaped, but I wasn’t sure about the lip until my sister in law mentioned that she would have a gap (she’s a dental assistant at an orthodontist) and that most kids break it before too long. I was even more sure when her teeth came in with a gap, sure enough! Since then she broke the lip tie at least partially (chipped a tooth too, poor thing!), but I am not sure if it needs more fixing or whether to fix the tongue. She’s 10-1/2 months and nursing well, in the 40-45th percentile for weight but 65-75th for height and growing steadily. She does wake often to nurse at night and has since she was sick at 4 months. We do bed share, so it’s not super intrusive. Before that she was a great sleeper with a 4-5 hour stretch.

  7. i, I am in Orlando as well and have a 9 week old with upper lip tie and posterior tongue tie. We also are going to see Dr. Sierra on September 9th. I am not nervous about the laser procedure itself but am terrified of recovery and doing the stretches. It seems like stretching is basically reopening the wound which should be rather painful? How many times a day did you stretch? Did your son learn to use his tongue and lip on his own or did you have to train him with extra exercises? Did you give any tylenol or homeopathic pain relief and for how long was it used?

  8. Hi Lauren! You’re lucky to have the procedure done so early! You may have to work on your latch for a day or two but I don’t imagine it being too difficult for you guys. I’m happy for you! Yay!

    As for the stretches, they didn’t really bother my little man. Well, expect for fingers being in weird places. The stretches are to make sure that it doesn’t wind up growing back during healing. The mouth heals really fast so it’s not like you’ll be opening wounds or anything. The stretches are just to manipulate the scarring and to keep the two surfaces separate.

  9. Shary, I forgot to ask…did your son outgrow the reflux and gas? and at what age did he outgrow it? Or did he still have reflux all the way to 12 months?

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  1. […] [Edit.] You can read about our successful lip tie revision after 12 months of breastfeeding struggles over at Breastfeeding Place. […]

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