Rising Concerns: Surge in ‘Tongue Tie Surgery’ on Babies Sparks Alarm Among Doctors and Parents Across the US

Rising Concerns: Surge in ‘Tongue Tie Surgery’ on Babies Sparks Alarm Among Doctors and Parents Across the US

Surge in ‘Tongue Tie Surgery’

An investigation has shed light on a concerning trend in the US where doctors are increasingly recommending ‘tongue tie surgery’ for babies, a procedure involving the use of lasers to remove excess tissue under the tongue or between lips and cheeks.

This surgery is intended to aid breastfeeding in infants with feeding difficulties due to this condition, yet around 60 percent of infants reportedly improve without such intervention.

Rising Rate of Procedures

Between 1997 and 2012, the rate of ‘tongue tie surgeries’ skyrocketed by a staggering 800 percent. This rapid increase in surgeries, fetching around $600 to $900 per procedure, has led to substantial financial gains for medical professionals, dentists, and breastfeeding counselors.

Unnecessary Procedures and Complications

Despite its intended purpose, the surgery has been associated with severe and lasting pain in infants, hindering their ability to eat and leading to malnourishment.

Some babies have ended up requiring feeding tubes due to complications arising from the procedure, causing alarm among healthcare providers and parents alike.

Allegations of Unethical Practices

Reports have surfaced implicating certain individuals, including lactation counselors like Melanie Henstrom, of aggressively advocating for the surgery, sometimes without medical necessity.

Instances have been highlighted where surgery was pushed despite the opinion of pediatricians, physical therapists, and lactation consultants indicating it wasn’t required.

Consequences and Regret

Tragic outcomes have emerged, with babies experiencing malnourishment and dehydration post-surgery. One mother, Tess Merrell, shared her regret after her baby underwent the procedure recommended by a counselor. The subsequent struggles and health complications led to feelings of remorse and frustration.

Medical Concerns and Limited Evidence

Medical professionals have raised concerns about the necessity of these surgeries, emphasizing the lack of substantial evidence supporting their efficacy in the long term.

Studies indicate limited evidence of sustained benefits to breastfeeding following the procedure, prompting questions about the necessity and ethics of performing such surgeries on infants.

Historical Context and Parental Choices

The resurgence of breastfeeding as the preferred method of feeding babies in recent years has amplified concerns about these surgical interventions.

The history of shifting trends from baby formula to breastfeeding underscores the significance of informed parental choices in feeding methods, raising debates about the necessity of invasive medical interventions in infant care.

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