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Therapeutic Ultrasound

How does therapeutic ultrasound work?

Therapeutic ultrasound has been used for decades in traditional physiotherapy settings for the treatment of pain, swelling and inflammation associated with injuries such as tendonitis, joint sprains etc.  The same machine used for treating injuries is used for treating blocked milk ducts.  Therapeutic ultrasound does not create an image or picture the way that diagnostic ultrasound used in pregnancy does. Therapeutic ultrasound works by generating and applying sound waves at a high frequency, creating a mechanical "vibration" in the tissue.  This vibration then causes a local circulation change within the tissues.  Bringing blood flow to the area helps to improve pain, inflammation and swelling and promoting tissue healing.  The inflammation causing the "block" is decreased, causing it to "open".

What should I expect during treatment?

A small amount of cold ultrasound gel is placed onto the breast area to be treated which allows the sound waves from the machine to enter the affected tissue.  The ultrasound wand head is slowly moved in circles over the affected area for a period of approximately 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the area to be treated.  You should not feel any pain or discomfort, but a sense of gentle warmth is common.  After the gel is wiped away and the breast cleaned, it is important to try to empty the breast either through feeding the baby or pumping.  

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