Child Health  |  Tongue Tie Pathway - Background Information

Child Health

Tongue Tie Pathway - Background Information

This pathway was adapted from the Waikato DHB version on Map of Medicine and developed in collaboration with:



Dr Vivienne Hobbs

Consultant Paediatrician

Dr Alison James

GP Liaison, BOPDHB

Karen Palmer

Community Lactation Services Co-ordinator, Plunket

Shauna Walters

Bethlehem Birthing Centre

Raewyn Sherratt

Lactation Consultant, BOPDHB

Aani Sherwin

Lactation Consultant, Whakatane, BOPDHB

Kelly Van der Westhuizen

Lactation Consultant, BOPDHB

Dr Jillian Caisley


Dr Varsha Gandhi

Senior Registrar, Paediatrics, BOPDHB

Dr Jeremy Armishaw

Consultant Paediatrician, BOPDHB

Dr Josh Agnew

Consultant Paediatrician, BOPDHB


Tongue tie or ankyloglossia is a congenital anomaly occurring in approximately 0.2%-10% of the population and is characterised by a short frenulum or a highly attached genioglossus muscle restricting tongue movements. Only 25% - 50% of babies with ankyloglossia will have feeding problems related to their tongue tie. 

The definition of tongue tie is not standardised and there is wide variation of opinion regarding its clinical significance and optimal management. International data supports a target rate for tongue tie release surgery between 2% - 5%. 

Equity information:

Maori babies are significantly less likely than non-Maori babies to have been exclusively breastfed by three months. Poor breast feeding rates in Maori babies is likely to reflect reduced access to lactation support. Rural locality and being from a lower socioeconomic demographic, are likely contributors to reduced access to lactation support for Maori.

Last updated : Friday, March 09, 2018
Next review date : Saturday, March 09,2019

Disclaimer: This site is intended to be flexible and frequently updated. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, all information should be verified.