What is Medical Thermography?
Thermography is simply a procedure utilizing an electronic camera to obtain an image of the infrared radiation (heat) coming from the surface of the skin.
The thermographic procedure is performed as an aid to the diagnosis of abnormal temperature patterns, which may or may not indicate the presence of a disease process or pathology.
The thermographic procedure is not a stand-alone diagnostic tool, but an adjunct to be used with other clinical or diagnostic findings. The medical community investigated breast thermography quite extensively during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The FDA approved the procedure as an adjunctive tool in breast cancer screening, and many physicians, concerned about the radiation exposure of mammography, began to promote thermography as a replacement for mammography. This was an error. Thermography only provides a physiologic marker that some abnormality is present in the breast. Nothing more and nothing less. This is however, an extremely valuable and important finding, but it has historically been the interpretation of these findings that has been the problem, and is now the subject of the “responsible second look.”
Unfortunately, thermography is often viewed as a competitor to mammography, a role for which it was never intended. Breast thermography is complimentary to mammography and an adjunctive tool in detecting breast cancer. The proper role for Thermal Imaging is to use it to assess risk of breast pathology. Using this perspective, there are a large number of studies published demonstrating the clinical utility and reliability of thermography.
How often should a breast thermogram be done?
How often to have a thermogram has not been determined. Most experts have suggested every 6-12 months for comparison. Since thermograms have shown early disease development as much as 10 years before a mass has been detected on a mammogram, at about age 20-25 a baseline exam should be done. For high-risk women, sooner.
What exams are Thermography useful for?
Medical research has shown thermography to be helpful in the identifying:
- Peripheral Nervous System Disorders
- Metabolic Disorders
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
- Headaches, Neck and Back Problems
- TMJ Conditions
- Dental & Sinus Infections
- Pain Syndromes such as fibromyalgia, myositis
- ArthritisVascular Disorders (Raynoud’s Disease, etc.)
- Soft Tissue Injuries
There are patterns detectable by thermograms that suggest any condition for which there is an alteration of nervous control of blood flow or circulation such as soft tissue injuries, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, osteoarthritis, dental and sinus infections, breast implant rupture, strokes, thyroid inflammation or underfunction, gall-bladder and liver inflammation, lymph congestion, and melanoma.
Clinical correlation is always required.
What does Thermography Show?
- Inflammation - Examples include infection, any type of “-itis,” fibromyalgia, acute trauma or strain, etc.
- Vascularity - Examples include blood vessels that are near the surface such as varicose veins, as well as vascular.
- Neurologic Dysfunction - Examples include a pinched nerve from a bulging disc, dural elongation, muscle spasm, etc.
- Lymphatic Congestion - Examples include blocked or engorged lymphatic channels and pathways such as in the groin, armpits, above the clavicle, neck, etc.
Don't wait for symptoms to manifest or a disease to be diagnosed. Discover if you have inflammation BEFORE it becomes a problem!