'Tongue-tied' Emirati baby undergoes successful surgery in Dubai hospital

'Tongue-tied' Emirati baby undergoes successful surgery in Dubai hospital

Dubai: An Emirati infant born ‘tongue tied’ was provided relief through timely surgical intervention carried out at a Dubai hospital. The surgery restored complete tongue functions, including proper suckling action that helped the baby bounce back to good health.

The surgery was carried out in the last week of May 2020 by Dr Prashant Sharma, specialist ENT surgeon at Prime Hospital.

A tongue stuck to the floor of the mouth

Soon after her birth, the baby was unable to suckle at her mother’s breast or cry loudly. When the child was three months old, her parents realised that the newborn was going hungry as she was unable to suckle. It was then that they consulted Dr Sharma.

Describing the child’s condition, Dr Sharma said: “A tongue-tie, medically known as Ankyloglossia, is a condition that affects 1.5 per cent children globally. However, few people are aware of this and fail to notice it soon enough. This condition means the tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth by a fibrotic band, restricting free movement and making it difficult for a child to breast-feed, eat, speak and swallow. If left untreated, in some cases, it can cause speech delays and difficulty in eating certain types of food.”

Dr Prashant Sharma

A complex case

Dr Sharma said this, particularly, was more complex. “Usually, it is the anterior portion of the tongue, just near its tapering tip, that is tethered. In the case of this baby, her problem was more complex as her tongue was tethered from the posterior side. As a result, she could not breast-feed properly and if left unattended would have created speech impediments in later phases of her life. Although I confirmed my diagnosis when the baby was three months old, we conducted the surgery only when she was six months old, had gained weight and could withstand sedation.”

Fibrotic band cut

In a small ten-minute light sedation procedure, Dr Sharma cleared the fibrotic band, freeing the tongue and also making sure the condition did not develop again. “I made a horizontal incision to free the tongue from the fibrotic band and then gave vertical stitches to make sure the tongue did not lapse into a tethered position again.”

Once the procedure was over, within a day, the baby recovered and has since been doing very well with proper breast-feeding and gaining strength and weight, the thrilled parents said.

The father of the infant told Gulf News: “We were very scared of this surgery initially, when my baby was diagnosed with the tongue-tie. However, the surgery went smoothly and our daughter recovered completely and is feeding well.”