A lingual frenectomy is the removal of a band of tissue (the lingual frenulum) connecting the underside of the tongue with the floor of the mouth.
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. The difference in tongue length is generally a few millimeters and it may actually shorten the tongue, depending on the procedure and aftercare. If the lingual frenulum, at full extension of the tongue, isn't tense against the two front bottom teeth, there is little chance for any extension by its removal.
Domenico Maceri, a professor at Allan Hancock College, claims that some South Korean parents have their children undergo frenectomy "which lengthens the tongue by about one millimeter" in the belief they will pronounce English better. Critics regard the surgery as unnecessary, as Koreans born in the United States have no trouble distinctly pronouncing /r/ and /l/. The process has also been used in reverse to aid native English speakers communicate with a native accent. In 2011, Rhiannon Brooksbank-Jones made headlines by obtaining a lingual frenectomy to aid her in speaking the Korean language without the inhibition of an accent.
- Olivi, G; Signore, A; Olivi, M; Genovese, MD (2012). "Lingual frenectomy: Functional evaluation and new therapeutical approach" (PDF). European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry. 13 (2): 101–6. PMID 22762170.
- Marceri, Domenico (2005). "English in France? Mais Oui!". Seoul Times. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- Demick, Barbara (2002-04-08). "A snip of the tongue and English is yours!". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2006-12-10.
doctors say the procedure's popularity has soared ... tongue surgery, which critics say is unnecessary ... Linguists sneer at the idea that South Koreans' tongues are too short to speak English properly ... operation lengthens the tongue by only a millimeter or two
- "Student obsessed with Korean culture has tongue surgically lengthened on NHS to help her speak the language". Daily Mail. 15 August 2011.