Sunday, March 28, 2010

Frenulum...Mandible...What?

I have been getting many questions about Israel's tongue surgery and what exactly was wrong with it, and/or what the big deal was with it. Many people say "Oh I know so and so and they are tongue tied and it's no big deal, or I know so and so who had the surgery and it's pretty easy. Now I know that these people say things like this out of a way of trying to connect and show sympathy, not to try and sound rude, as it often comes across. So here's the long and short of Izzy's tongue stuff. He was born tongue tied. Meaning that his frenulum (that thing under your tongue that hold it to the bottom of your mouth) was connected to the end of his tongue, instead of about half way back like the rest of us. This in and of itself really isn't a huge deal. Many people can live like this with no problems and other opt for a short out patient surgery to quickly clip it. But Izzy's was a bit different. So different in fact that many people at Doernbecher's looked at it and all said they had never seen anything like it, even a pediatric ENT who has been in his field for 34 years! So Israel was quite a different case. Israel's tongue wasn't only connected to the bottom of his mouth, it was connected up through the tip of his tongue and to the back of his lip causing his mandible (gums, where your teeth grow in) to split into two. Here's a pictures so you can get an idea of what I am talking about.


This is a major problem because it doesn't allow Israel to eat anything solid, unless it is mashed, like baby food. His tongue had no mobility so as soon as something entered his mouth he could not control it and he would eventually choke and most of the time throw up! In addition, this would cause other major problems in the future with speech and teeth growth. So it wasn't something that could just be left alone, like many of the other cases of people who are tongue tied. We have been seeing our surgeon since Israel was two months old, and she is amazing! She felt that this needed to be done at around age one for the best recovery and retraining process of the tongue and eating and such. As mentioned in my earlier post, we had the surgery on Friday and it was a huge success. She said it was quite difficult because of the way in which it was attached to the gums, but she feels good about it. Most likely he will have another surgery similar to this when he is two years old to completely free his tongue. She could only go about half way as far as it needs to be because she only had so much tissue to reconstruct the tongue with. But she feels like this is a very good start for him and will allow him to begin eating solids. Our other hope is that as his mouth continues to grow that his mandible will grow back together and teeth will be able to grow in properly. Prayers for this would be greatly appreciated.

2 comments:

Sharon de L said...

Becca, the picture tells all - wow! You sure clarified the difference for any well-meaning readers . . . . I'm really looking forward to being with you this Friday!

writing4612 said...

Glad everything went well considering the level of difficulties. A good surgeon is worth their weight in gold!