A frenectomy (also known as a frenulectomy or frenotomy) is the removal of a frenulum, a small fold of tissue that prevents an organ in the body from moving too far. It can refer to frenulums in several places on the human body. It is related to frenuloplasty, a surgical alteration in a frenulum.
There are several different frenulums in the mouth and they can attach to the inside of the lip, inside of the cheek or to the bottom of the tongue. When any of these frenulums are much shorter than normal, they can limit the movement of the tissues they attach to.
The removal of the lingual frenulum under the tongue can be accomplished with either frenectomy or frenuloplasty. This is used to treat a tongue tied patient. Immediately after this minor oral surgery, the tongue can often dramatically extend out of the mouth which it could not do before. This can allow breastfeeding, help improve speech and promote proper tooth arch development in growing children.
Frenectomy has become popular in South Korea in order to lengthen normal children's tongues by about 1 mm so they can better speak English. Critics regard the surgery as unnecessary, as Koreans born in the United States have no trouble distinguishing r and l.
The labial frenulum often attaches to the center of the upper lip and between the upper two front teeth. This can cause a large gap and gum recession by pulling the gums off of the bone. A labial frenectomy removes the labial frenulum. Orthodontic patients often have this procedure done to assist with closing a front tooth gap. When a denture patient's lips move, the frenulum pulls and loosens the denture which can be quite upsetting. This surgery is often done to help dentures fit better.
A frenectomy can be performed to remove the frenulum from the penis. The frenulum may be cut when a male is circumcised. This may also reduce the size of the frenular delta. The frenulum was cut in 26.7%, 20%, and 33.33% of circumcised patients. The frenulum is often cut to relieve frenulum breve or frenular chordee during circumcision.