Authors: Carnino JM, Rodriguez Lara F, Chan WP, Kennedy DG, Levi JR
Title: Speech Outcomes of Frenectomy for Tongue-Tie Release: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Source: Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology 2024 133(6): 566-574
Year: 2024
Research Design: Systematic Review

OBJECTIVE: Tongue-tie, which is also known as ankyloglossia, is a common condition where the lingual frenulum is unusually tight or short. While most literature investigates the impact of tongue-tie on breastfeeding, recent articles have examined its role in speech production in children. However, these have not previously been reviewed systematically. This study aims to determine the impact of tongue-tie on speech outcomes and assess whether frenectomy can improve speech function. METHODS: In this systematic review, we conducted a comprehensive search of PubMed/MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, Embase, and speechBITE to analyze primary studies investigating the impact of frenectomy for tongue-tie on speech outcomes. We extracted data regarding patient age, male to female ratio, procedure type, follow-up time, and speech outcomes and ran statistical analyses to determine if frenectomy for tongue-tie leads to improvement in speech issues in pediatric patients. Speech outcomes extracted were subjectively measured based on the interpretation of a speech and language pathologist or parent. RESULTS: Our analysis included 10 studies with an average patient age of 4.10 years, and average cohort size of 22.17 patients. Overall, frenectomy for tongue-tie was associated with an improvement in speech articulation (0.78; 95% CI: 0.64-0.87; P < .01). Increasing patient age was found to be negatively correlated with post-frenectomy speech outcomes (P = .01). However, this relationship disappeared in the adjusted model. CONCLUSION: Overall, we conclude that frenectomy is a suitable treatment to correct speech issues in select patients with tongue-tie if caught early in childhood. Despite the limited investigations around speech outcomes post-frenectomy, these results are informative to providers treating tongue-tie.

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