Friday, December 9, 2016

Ankyloglossia - Day 11

Dear Readers,

Thank you so very kindly for the overwhelming support. While those might seem like trite words, the sentiment is logarithmically earnest and true. It's important to know that in vulnerable moments there is a supportive community. As many of you know, I shared the previous blog entry about my lingual frenotomy (frenectomy) on facebook.  I received the largest number of views (638 as of the writing of this post) in the three years that I have been keeping this blog, as a result of sharing that blog entry.

As an opera singer, it does take courage to disclose one's vocal health. One of the main reasons to share my experience is for other singers with the same lingual impediment. It was very difficult to find information about adult frenotomy (aka adult frenectomy, or adult tongue-tie, or adult ankyloglossia). Furthermore, it was supremely difficult to find information about singers who have had the condition and the procedure.

I couldn't find any evidence of problems, mistakes, or botched surgeries. I also could not find conciliatory words of advice, or of specific success stories. Some singers and technicians have posted about the procedure as a tool for mobility in rolling the "r," which is heard and utilized nearly all of lyric diction, and in the most common languages of the operatic canon.

Some words for those who are interesting in getting the surgery:
  • The procedure was quick, simple, painless. It took approximately 8 min.
  • Local anesthesia injected into the tongue.
  • The doctor used scissors to "un-tie" the frenulum.
  • I bled lightly for several hours, with light spotting for two days after. I used gauze under my tongue to collect the blood.
  • I do 3 tongue stretches all day.
  • I took pain killers for 9 days.
  • The pain was often server, but never incapacitating.
  • I could eat and speak immediately following the surgery, and in the days following.
  • Obvious speech impediments were never exaggerated and they resolved themselves over the course of 4 days. As the pain subsided so did the small lisp and slur.

I was shocked to see how much tongue was actually IN my mouth. The mass and volume

Thank you for reading, and thank you for the support.

More updates as they seem relevant.

Below are photos from the last two days:


  1. Hi Joseph,

    I have scowered the internet, searching for information regarding the relation of a tongue tie and the quality of ones voice. I believe that I have a moderate tongue tie. I have neck/throat back tension, unable to relax my throat and tongue while singing, a clicking jaw that I find effortful to open completely, and forward neck pasture. It also feels like it takes quite a bit of effort to breathe through my diaphragm.
    When I sing, it always feels like my voice just cant get past my throat completely and my vocal folds just cannot relax to belt.
    I've had vocal instruction through my university. My vocal coach said I had great timbre and a powerful voice, but it seemed like I just couldn't project it in a stable manner, or like it was blocked. It thoroughly confused her.
    After pursuing a degree in Speech-Language Pathology, I became familiar with this term, but have not learned anything in regard to it's possible effects on singing.
    I think this tongue tie could be my culprit.
    Do any of these issues sound like anything you have experienced pre-frenectomy? Do you feel as if the frenectomy has made a positive difference is your vocal quality/capabilities?

    I hope you find time to reply, as you are the only singer I have found who has had experience with this scenario.



    1. Christina,

      Am so happy you reached out; I too - as I wrote - found basically no useful information on the internet, nor any singers with whom I could discuss this condition.

      Do I have your permission to quote you and respond to your questions in a blog entry? I am also happy to respond here in the comments thread, if you prefer.

      Hope I can be of some help,

    2. Thank you so much for responding so quickly!
      Yes, of course! Quote away!


    3. I am so very sorry for the delay. I will be posting a response in the next few minutes. Best of luck!