Lip tie surgery
What is lip tie?
Upper lip tie occurs when the band of tissue under the centre of the upper lip, called the “maxillary frenulum”, is tight or restrictive and interferes with the mobility of the upper lip.
Upper lip tie, or top lip tie, has been less well studied than tongue tie. However, the treatment is still straight forward and effective, eliminating the risk of your child experiencing lip tie problems later in life.
Lip tie symptoms and problems in children
Upper lip tie may impair your baby’s ability to breastfeed efficiently. The condition may be assessed and detected by the neonatologist, paediatrician or lactation specialist, who would then refer your child to a paediatric surgeon for surgical review and management.
If the upper lip tie is restricting the upper lip movements of your child, then the condition may be associated with speech development problems, such as speech delay.
Upper lip tie may be detected in association with a restrictive tongue tie. You can read more about tongue tie here.
The condition may be detected by the neonatologist, paediatrician, or lactation specialist.
With restrictive lip tie, speech delay and difficulty breastfeeding may occur or continue if the condition is left untreated.
While less studied than tongue tie, lip tie is still easily corrected by a simple surgery.
Does a lip tie need to be repaired?
The presence of the band of tissue beneath the top lip does not automatically mean that the condition needs to be fixed. It is absolutely normal to have a maxillary frenulum. Just because it is present, this does not mean it requires release.
However, there may be concern about the contribution from an upper lip tie towards breastfeeding problems or challenges with speech development. This can include trouble latching onto the breast and speech delay. In this case, a referral to the paediatric surgeon will be made. After a careful assessment, upper lip tie release may be offered.
What is lip tie surgery?
For newborn infants with upper lip tie, if release is required, the surgery is performed in our consulting rooms. The release surgery takes only 10 minutes. The release is performed by soft tissue laser, which allows for the precise, safe and quick release of any tethering.
For children older than 6 months requiring upper lip tie release, we offer the procedure under general anaesthetic as a short day procedure.
Both procedures are simple to perform, without pain or distress for your child.
Pros and cons of lip tie laser surgery
The risks associated with lip tie laser surgery are very low, while the benefits will include the direct relief of any relevant symptoms. This could mean that breastfeeding becomes easier, and that future speech development proceeds according to normal milestones.
To be sure of effective outcomes, careful assessment is made by the lactation consultant, neonatologist, paediatrician, GP, and then by the paediatric surgeon about whether the release surgery is required.
After making an informed decision, if upper lip tie release surgery is required, the procedure can be done safely with minimal risk under the care of trained paediatric surgeons. The risks of bleeding and re-attachment are very low for this simple and fast type of surgery.
How much does lip tie surgery cost?
We strive to deliver the highest level of paediatric surgical service to families. All children, whether they are newborn, toddlers, young children or teenagers, deserve excellent support and care. As surgeons we believe that it is essential to address paediatric urology and surgical problems in accordance with world’s best practice.
If children require surgery, our role encompasses building a reassuring environment to prepare your family for the surgery, and of course to provide expert surgical care and follow-up. At WA Paediatric Surgery and Urology, both our surgeons and our team will be here to assist you with kindness and support.
Tongue tie surgery
Groin & scrotum conditions
Foreskin & penile conditions
Contact our paediatric surgeons and urologists
Dr Andrew Barker
Dr Naeem Samnakay
85 Monash Avenue, Nedlands, WA 6009