The Effectiveness and Outcome of Ultrasound Therapy for Lactating Mothers with Blocked Mammary Ducts

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Abstract Summary


The 2016 statistics from Department of Health indicated that 86.8% of mothers breastfed their babies at discharge, but the breastfeeding rate dropped to 55.5% at 4 months after delivery. Of the many reasons that mothers stopped breastfeeding, painful blocked ducts leading to reduction of milk production is a known cause of premature cessation of breastfeeding. Although there several studies have assessed the effectiveness of using therapeutic ultrasound to clear ductal blockage, there is only limited information on the pain reduction for these mothers.


A Lactation Consultant Clinic was set up in Dec 2017 in collaboration with Physiotherapist to provide ultrasound therapy for mothers with the problem of blocked ducts.


Lactating mothers with blocked ducts would be referred to the Physiotherapist for ultrasound therapy. The study period was from December 2017 to November 2018. The pain score pre- and post- ultrasound therapy was assessed by Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NRPS); and milking and hand expression was performed by Lactation Consultant immediately after the treatment. Phone follow-up was done to evaluate the effectiveness and the feeding pattern after 4 months.

Results & Outcome

91 mothers who attended the Lactation Consultant Clinic had USG therapy performed for blocked ducts within the study period. 18.7% (17/91) and 38.5% (35/91) of them expressed breast refusal or were separated with their babies after delivery. The percentage of pain reduction during the first USG therapy were 54.0 ± 28.3 and 55.0 ± 28.8 from the right breast and left breast respectively. The percentage of pain reduction during the second USG therapy were 45.8 ± 29.0 and 49.7 ± 26.0 from the right breast and left breast respectively. 80 mothers were successfully contacted at 4 months after the treatment. 16.3% (13/80) of mothers had exclusively breastfed their babies, 35.0% (28/80) of mothers gave breast milk by direct latch on or expressed breast milk. 25.0% (20/80) of mother gave expressed breast milk and formula, while 23.8% (19/80) of mothers had stopped breastfeeding. In order to assist mothers to solve the problem of blocked ducts, massaging and expression by hands is a vital, but very painful procedure. Nevertheless, ultrasound therapy could help in reduction of pain and increased the milk flow. This would be a therapeutic option for the Lactation Consultant to manage blocked mammary ducts and preventing the occurrence of mastitis.



Abstract ID :
Submission Type
Authors (including presenting author) :
Ho LF(1), Lo Jessica(2), Fung MY(1), Wong Alice(1), Yip WY(1), Lai OK(1), Leung CH(1), Sin WH(1)
Affiliation :
(1) Obstetrics & Gynaecology Department, Princess Margaret Hospital (2) Physiotherapy Department. Princess Margaret Hospital

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