Change in mode of feeding after ultrasonic therapy for lactating mothers with blocked mammary ducts Abstract

Lai-fong HO,1 Alice OL WONG,1 On-ki LAI,1 Wing-yan YIP,1 Pui-han LEUNG,1 Shuk-kwan LEE2
1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hong Kong
2 Department of Physiotherapy, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hong Kong

Objectives: To retrospectively evaluate the effectiveness of ultrasonic therapy for severe breast engorgement or blocked mammary ducts, and to report the change in the mode of feeding after ultrasonic therapy and lactation consultation for mothers. Methods: Medical records of mothers who underwent ultrasonic therapy for blocked milk ducts between November 2017 and 2020 at the Princess Margaret Hospital were retrieved. The physiotherapist assessed the visual analogue scale score for pain before and after therapy. The mode of feeding was recorded at the first consultation and at 2 weeks after the latest therapy. Results: A total of 285 women aged 17 to 44 years underwent ultrasonic therapy for blocked milk ducts. 20.7% and 79.3% of women had one and both breasts affected, respectively. The total number of breasts included for analysis was 511. The number of ultrasonic therapies per breast varied from one to 13. After the first ultrasonic therapy, the mean pain score improved from 5.5 to 2.8, with a mean reduction of 2.7, which represented a mean of 54.7% reduction in pain score. Similarly, reduction of pain score was significant in subsequent ultrasonic therapy sessions (p<0.001). There was a trend towards association between the number of therapies and reduction in pain score (r= -0.07, p=0.079). At 2 weeks after the latest therapy, mothers who practised exclusive breastfeeding increased from 49.1% to 64.3%. Conclusion: Ultrasonic therapy is effective for treatment of symptomatic postpartum breast engorgement and blocked milk ducts. It should be promulgated to all lactating mothers.
Hong Kong J Gynaecol Obstet Midwifery 2023; 23(1):41-45
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