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Friday, May 15, 2009

Using Ultrasound Technology to Identify Breast Problems - even while breastfeeding


Last week you learned that the Ultrasound Technology has greatly improved making it a viable option for identifying breast related-breastfeeding difficulties.

Ultrasound imagery has also revealed the following:
1. Breast tissue changes are significant during pregnancy and lactation. Previously it was believed that the glandular breast tissue - rather than adipose (fat) tissue- became the dominant tissue during pregnancy/breastfeeding. Studies show that proportion of glandular tissue increases more than adipose tissue; however, it is not necessarily true that a pregnant/breastfeeding breast has more glandular tissue than adipose tissue. Evidence shows that the proportion of glandular tissue to adipose tissue varies greatly among women; in fact, only 20% of a select group of women had more glandular tissue than adipose tissue.
2. Breast investigation requires using the highest resolution of the imaging technologies.
3. Ultrasound research does not need to compress the lactating breast; in fact, compression interferes with the ultrasound results. Compression is a major discomfort of mammograms.
4. Ultrasound technology should first survey the entire breast for any abnormalities. When an abnormality is detected, targeted ultrasound zeroes in on the problem area.
5. Nipple piercing and nipple surgery can affect the milk flow; these procedures can reduce the necessary blood flow within the lactating breast. In fact, research demonstrates that mammary blood flow, necessary for milk production, can decrease by 66% of what it should be. Ultrasounds of the nipple- areola can reveal reduced blood flow.

6. Lactating mothers should breastfeed her baby or express milk prior to an ultrasound; an “emptier” breast produces better results.
7. Mammary blood flow doubles by 24 weeks into a pregnancy; this blood flow continues to be elevated throughout full lactation. The average mammary blood flow varies with women.

8. It is normal to experience mammary blood flow variation between the breasts of one woman. Breasts are frequently asymmetrical in size, shape or milk production.
9. The 24 hour mammary blood flow required to produce one liter of milk is believed to be similar to other mammalian species. The ratio is 500:1 (500 liters of blood flow per 24 hour period to is required to produce 1 liter of milk).
10. Milk ejection signs include: sensations of pins and needles in the breast, milk leaking from the nipple, pain pressure, and the maternal feelings of warmth or nausea.
11. "There has been little investigation of the lymphatic drainage of the lactating breast despite its importance in engorgement and mastitis. "

Stay tuned for more next week....

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