Digital infrared thermal imaging – also referred to as thermography – is a non-invasive test of your physiology that was approved by the FDA back in 1982. It is a valuable procedure for alerting your doctor to changes that can indicate early stages of breast disease and evaluation of unexplained pain. It is also helpful in monitoring therapy progress for multiple conditions and injuries, such as back injuries, arthritis, headaches, nerve damage, fibromyalgia, dental problems and TMJ, artery inflammation, vascular disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, disc disease, inflammatory pain conditions, skin cancer, sprains/strains, stroke screening, whiplash, and digestive disorders – just to name a few.
How Does It Work?
A very sensitive digital camera takes thermal images of your body and sends this data to the computer. A qualified physician then interprets the images. In this way, skin temperatures, thermal vascular patterns, and sympathetic responses can be distinguished between normal and abnormal physiological functions of the body. This is different than an x-ray where radiation is passed through your body and an image is developed on an x-ray plate film to produce an anatomical image. Thermography provides valuable information that compliments the anatomical images from MRI scans, CT scans, mammography, ultrasound, and x-ray.
How Does Thermography Detect Breast Problems?
The underlying principle by which infrared imaging detects pre-cancerous and cancerous growths is because tumors have an increased vascularity in order to maintain the increased metabolism of cellular growth and multiplications. With this increased blood flow comes an increased temperature, even in very small tumors. Like mammography and other breast imaging techniques, infrared imaging does not diagnose cancer – only a biopsy can do this. It does, however, indicate the presence of an abnormality. A woman’s thermal image is like a thumbprint and should not change over time. Serial studies are compared with previous studies for change. If a woman has never had a breast thermogram before, an initial scan is performed and then a repeat study is done three months later to establish an accurate baseline. After this, annual studies can be performed and compared with previous scans. A breast scan takes about 30-45 minutes to perform, does not touch or compress the breast, and does not emit any radiation.
Thermography vs. Mammography
See the chart below for a comparison of how quickly infrared imaging can help detect breast abnormalities compared to mammography.
You can see how thermography can be a very valuable part of your yearly health and wellness plan. As part of the wellness services that I offer, you can schedule an appointment for a thermography session at my clinic on April 30 or May 1, 2011. The procedure is safe, quick, painless, affordable, and covered by most insurance carriers. Call now to schedule your first appointment and get yourself on track for faster breast disease detection!
Click here to download a printable brochure on Breast Thermography.