The Controversial Practice of Tongue-Tie Release: A Cause for Concern?

25 December 2023

Parents and Experts Raise Alarms Over Potential Harms of Tongue-Tie Release Procedures

In recent years, the medical community has seen a surge in the popularity of tongue-tie release procedures, also known as frenotomy or frenectomy, as a solution for breastfeeding difficulties in infants. However, a growing number of parents and experts are now questioning the safety and efficacy of these procedures. Alarming reports of traumatic experiences, long-lasting complications, and inadequate regulation have raised concerns about the potential risks associated with tongue-tie release. This article delves into the controversy surrounding this practice, shedding light on the stories of affected families and exploring the broader implications for medical professionals and regulatory bodies.

A Plethora of Complaints: Traumatic Experiences and Inadequate Regulation

Ms. Lavelle’s Trauma:

One mother, Ms. Lavelle, shared her traumatic experience with the lactation board, recounting the distress caused by her daughter’s tongue-tie release procedure. Despite her complaints, the board has taken no action against the lactation consultant involved, leaving Ms. Lavelle feeling unheard and unsupported. This case highlights the need for more stringent regulation and accountability within the field of lactation consulting.

Inadequate Regulation:

The lack of disciplinary action by the lactation board is not an isolated incident. Since 2002, the board has revoked the certifications of only three lactation consultants, raising questions about the effectiveness of the current regulatory framework. With the number of tongue-tie release procedures on the rise, it is crucial to ensure that professionals in this field are held to the highest standards of care.

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Unresolved Complaints and Disputed Responsibility

Ms. Lavelle’s Complaint Against Dr. Zink:

Ms. Lavelle also filed a complaint against Dr. Zink, the dentist who performed her daughter’s tongue-tie release. Despite collecting medical records and statements, the Idaho board of dentistry found no fault on Dr. Zink’s part. This outcome has left Ms. Lavelle and others questioning the thoroughness and impartiality of the investigation process.

Vivi’s Tragic Experience:

In another heart-wrenching case, Vivi, an infant, underwent tongue-tie release recommended by Ms. Henstrom, a lactation consultant. However, the procedure resulted in severe complications, leaving Vivi unable to breastfeed and struggling with swallowing difficulties. The specialist who assessed Vivi concluded that the problems were likely caused by the laser surgery. This devastating outcome raises concerns about the potential long-term consequences of tongue-tie release procedures.

Lingering Consequences: Financial Burdens and Emotional Toll

Financial Burdens:

The aftermath of tongue-tie release procedures can be financially burdensome for affected families. Vivi’s parents, Aubrey and Ryan Nobili, incurred over $5,000 in credit card debt to cover their daughter’s feeding therapies. This financial strain adds to the already overwhelming emotional toll experienced by families grappling with the long-lasting effects of these procedures.


The controversy surrounding tongue-tie release procedures raises important questions about the safety, efficacy, and regulation of this practice. The stories of Ms. Lavelle and the Nobili family highlight the need for improved accountability and transparency within the medical community. As more parents and experts voice their concerns, it is crucial for regulatory bodies to reevaluate their practices and ensure that the well-being of patients remains their top priority. The long-term consequences for infants who undergo tongue-tie release procedures should not be underestimated, and further research is needed to fully understand the potential risks and benefits of this intervention.

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