Objectives: To determine whether real-time ultrasonography can be used to directly visualize artificial nipples in vivo while an infant is sucking, to compare deformation differences of the artificial nipple with the human nipple during sucking, and to compare the suck mechanism used by the infant with four types of artificial nipples.
Design: Nonrandomized clinical study with a control group.
Setting: University-affiliated teaching hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.
Participants: A volunteer sample of 35 healthy infants 6 to 12 weeks of age.
Measurements/main results: Images produced by real-time ultrasound of infants during sucking using artificial nipples were measured to determine the percentage lengthening, the percentage lateral compression, and the percentage flattening of nipples. These results were compared with data obtained from studies using breast-fed infants. None of the artificial nipples lengthened like the human nipple. One artificial nipple was significantly more compressible than the human nipple and the remaining three artificial nipples.
Conclusion: Real-time ultrasonography can be used to visualize artificial nipples in vivo during sucking.