Thermography is a test that uses an infrared camera to detect heat patterns. Modern thermography detects heat and blood flow in body tissues and may tip you off to areas of inflammation. The more inflammation you have in an area the more “heat” it produces.
Thermography may be a useful adjunctive tool in the diagnosis of many conditions including:
- Breast cancer
- Skin cancer
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Neck and back problems
- Soft tissue injuries
- Dental issues
Read on to learn more about thermography and how it may be useful for you….
Thermal imaging cameras were initially developed for military use during the Korean war and have found use in many areas including home inspections (looking for water leaks), rescue operations, surveillance activities and crime scenes. Medicine started looking at the use of thermograms for early detection of breast cancer as early as 1960’s. There were many studies around that time that showed mammograms were better in detecting breast cancer so thermograms fell out of favor. As everything else in medicine, the technology has progressed to where many people are now taking another look at thermography. The FDA has actually approved it as an adjunctive in breast imaging with applications in clarifying the significance of breast masses detected on mammogram or MRI. A clinical trial looking at this found that an abnormal mammogram followed by a normal thermogram had an 82% probability that the lesion was benign. So, thermography may have a role when mammograms are inconclusive.
The question always arises are thermograms good enough to screen for breast cancer in place of mammograms. There are numerous studies looking at this. Currently, thermograms are not sensitive enough to consistently detect early cancers so mammograms are still being recommended as the primary screening tool. However, thermograms are very useful when used in conjunction with mammograms, MRI’s, and ultrasounds. Many times there is a mass that shows up on these modalities and we are put into a watch and wait mode following up in 6 months. A thermogram would be a good adjunct at this time to see if there is an actual heat signal which would signify a metabolically active process. Even though it is not recommended as a screening tool, if you are not getting regular mammograms then it is at least something to help monitor your breasts.
What about other areas of your body? Because thermography shows heat signals in areas of inflammation it can point to issues that you may not be aware there is an issue. In addition to soft tissue inflammation it can also show significant vascular inflammation. For example, if a carotid artery had a significant signal then it would be important to evaluate this further to look for plaque. Identifying plaque in the carotid may save you from a stroke.
How is a thermogram performed?
This is just like having your picture taken (and you don’t even have to smile). There are no machines that squeeze or compress you. In fact, there is absolutely nothing that will be touching you. This process involves no radiation, too.
Insight thermography will be coming to my office once a month and offering thermograms. You do NOT have to be my patient as this is something you will be booking directly with them. They give you the report and review it with you. If there are any areas of concern you can follow up with your primary care physician. Call Insight thermography for more information: 405-306-6340. When you schedule your thermogram at our office you will receive 10% off your first thermogram!
I am a big believer that inflammation is the underlying cause of so many of our diseases and thermography is just another tool that tips us off that we are going down the wrong path. If you have any questions, please call Insight Thermography as they will be more than happy to tell you more about their services.
To your health,