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Frenulum Clinic

The Emerson Hospital Frenulum Clinic is an interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, lactation specialists and child life specialists. Together, we work to assess the babies’ frenulum and feeding and to assist them as needed for optimal health.

Assessment of Tongue Tie

At the Emerson Hospital Frenulum Clinic, we use several different techniques to assess tongue tie in newborns and infants.

First, a pediatrician sits down with the family to discuss infant behavior and the details of feeding. A baby who must use her gums to chew her way onto the breast, has frequent loss of latch when feeding, the clicking noise of a tight frenulum snapback, or leaves the mother with a misshapen, colorless nipple after feeding may all indicate that a tight frenulum, or ‘tongue tie’, is preventing the baby from feeding easily and comfortably. 

After talking with the family, the pediatrician will evaluate the patient’s tongue tie using the Hazelbacker Assessment Tool for Lingual Frenulum Function. This tool rates the appearance of a tongue tie on a scale from 0-10 and the function of a tied tongue from 0-14.  On this scale, a total score of less than 11/24 or a functional score less than 8/14 indicates a significant tongue tie that will likely interfere with feeding.

In addition to the history and physical above, the recommendation of whether to proceed with frenulum division will take into account the referring physician and/or lactation consultant’s assessment and recommendation, infant weight gain and well-being, and family history of tongue tie and related problems.  In some cases, the pediatrician may also observe a breast feed to watch the mother-baby in action. The final decision will be made in concert with the family after an extensive discussion of possible benefits and complications.

Clinic Staff

Physicians: Drs. Anne Light and Flora Pirquet are board-certified pediatricians with years of experience performing frenulum assessment and divisions. They will perform a full history, a physical exam and frenulum assessment including but not limited to HATLFF scoring; if it appears that a patient would benefit from frenulum division, the procedure can be performed in the same visit.  In addition, Drs. Light and Pirquet will work with our other specialists to optimize post-procedural care including developing new feeding strategies and post-procedural physical therapy exercises as needed.

Child Life Specialists: Mallory Harrison has many years of experience working with children and helping them cope with medical procedures in a hospital setting.

Nurses: The Frenulum Clinic is staffed by dedicated board-certified nurses with experience in frenulum division.

Support Staff: Our bookings and referral department are available for questions and booking during normal business hours and can be reached at (978) 287-3003.


Additional Documents

Overview of the Frenulum Clinic
Pre-operative instructions
Comforting your baby during the procedure
Post-operative instructions
Frequently asked questions

For Physicians

Reasons to refer a patient for a frenulum division
How to refer a patient to the Emerson Hospital Frenulumm Clinic