A multifaceted programme to reduce the rate of tongue-tie release surgery in newborn infants: Observational study

Resource type
Authors/contributors
Title
A multifaceted programme to reduce the rate of tongue-tie release surgery in newborn infants: Observational study
Abstract
OBJECTIVES: A programme was introduced in Canterbury, New Zealand to evaluate the diagnosis and treatment of frenulum releases in newborn infants with suspected tongue-tie (ankyloglossia). The primary goals were to support breastfeeding and ensure that unnecessary surgery was avoided. METHODS: Local healthcare professionals reached consensus on a pathway for improving management of infants with tongue-tie and breast-feeding difficulties. This embedded an expert breast-feeding review and assessment of lingual function using a validated method, the Bristol Tongue-tie Assessment Tool (BTAT). Infants with breastfeeding problems related to tongue-tie had a frenotomy at a hospital outpatient clinic. An education programme was developed to support introduction of the new clinical pathway and included seminars and online information for healthcare professionals and the general public. RESULTS: Frenotomy intervention rate reduced markedly from 11.3% in 2015 to 3.5% by mid-2017. Feeding methods were not different before or after surgery between infants who received a frenotomy and those who did not. Initially, the BTAT threshold for frenotomy was set at ≤5, however the final clinical pathway combined a breastfeeding assessment and a BTAT threshold of ≤4. The education programs assisted with the changes in practice, while increased use of the clinician guidance and public health information websites confirmed growing awareness of tongue-tie and community breastfeeding support. CONCLUSIONS: Establishing consistent multidisciplinary assessment of tongue-tie in infants with feeding difficulties led to a marked reduction in frenotomy intervention rate. 23% of the frenotomy group in the 2016 audit showed a significant improvement in the ability to breastfeed, but overall there was no difference in the feeding pattern of infants who either received or were declined a frenotomy. The development of a supportive education programme and availability of online information about tongue-tie for health professionals and consumers contributed to successful uptake of the new clinical pathway.
Publication
International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Volume
113
Pages
156-163
Date
Oct 2018
Journal Abbr
Int. J. Pediatr. Otorhinolaryngol.
Language
eng
DOI
10.1016/j.ijporl.2018.07.045
ISSN
1872-8464
Short Title
A multifaceted programme to reduce the rate of tongue-tie release surgery in newborn infants
Library Catalog
PubMed
Extra
PMID: 30173975
Citation
Dixon, B., Gray, J., Elliot, N., Shand, B., & Lynn, A. (2018). A multifaceted programme to reduce the rate of tongue-tie release surgery in newborn infants: Observational study. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 113, 156–163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2018.07.045
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