Frequently Asked Questions About Thermography
Absolutely. Thermography is not only FDA approved in the United States but has been used in Europe and in many countries around the world for over 30 years. Thermography is a non-invasive test, which means nothing is sent into your body. Images that are created by this technology are simply measurements of the heat that naturally radiates from your body. Thermography is essentially contactless as it is reading your body's temperatures which is why it is also pain free.
Are There Any Side Effects for Thermographic Imaging?
This is a very understandable question for Thermography Patients, and we can offer a 100% guarantee there are absolutely no side effects from Thermography Exams. Although there is an imaging camera involved, the camera does not obtain images the same way as radiation-based devices which emit radiation into the body. Thermal imaging actually obtains images of your body by reading its heat signature that is radiated from your body.
How Long Does a Thermography Session Take?
This procedure time may vary depending on if you are having a section, half, or a full body scan. The total time can be between 30 minutes to 1 full hour. This will include the time it takes to adjust to the room's temperature.
Do I Need a Referral from My Family Doctor?
No you do not need a referral and may schedule directly with our office.
How Often Will I Need to Repeat This Procedure?
This depends on your initial findings. With low risk findings, and depending on your age and general level of health, we will recommend annual or bi-annual screening. If your findings fall into the higher risk category, you will be asked to repeat this examination in 6 or 9 months to compare to the baseline. Because the thermogram of a healthy woman remains remarkably constant, serial thermograms can assess tissue changes over time. A healthy initial thermogram can, therefore, serve as a baseline to compare future thermograms against.
Does Thermography Replace Mammograms?
No. Thermography is not a stand-alone diagnostic test when it comes to breast cancer. Thermography differs from mammography in that it provides information on the biological activity of the breast versus the gross internal anatomy. Infrared imaging is a functional test, whereas mammography is a structural test. We recommend that, when necessary, thermography be used in conjunction with other structural examinations (mammography, ultrasound, or MRI) for the most comprehensive screening and the earliest possible detection of malignancy.
Will Insurance Cover My Thermography Exam?
Most insurances do not cover these services.
Can Breast Thermography Diagnose Breast Cancer?
Thermography cannot, and does not, diagnose breast cancer. This is also true for anatomical tests, such as mammograms, ultrasounds, and magnetic resonance imaging. Such tests provide information on the different aspects of the disease process and identify the need for further investigations. A biopsy of the breast and accompanying histological evaluation is the only definitive diagnostic test for breast cancer.
Is Thermography Safe, or Effective, If You Have Breast Implants?
Yes. Breast thermography is painless and safe, using no radiation or compression. It can be used effectively and safely for all women, including pregnant or nursing women, women with dense breast tissue, women with fibrocystic condition, and women with breast implants.
Is Thermography a Replacement or Alternative to X-ray, Ultrasound, MRI, CT, or Any Other Type of Medical Imaging?
No… The technologies are completely different. One cannot compare a functional imaging technology to a structural imaging technology. For example, an EKG does not replace an echocardiogram. These two technologies look at the heart in a completely different way, yet they complement each other. Thermography provides information about the body that no other technology can offer, but it does not replace them.
What Are the Main Benefits of Thermography?
One of the key benefits of thermography is its effectiveness in women with dense breasts, making it suitable for: Younger women, Women taking hormone therapy, Women with fibrocystic changes,
Thermography as an independent risk marker – According to a number of researchers, a persistent abnormal thermogram is thought to be “the single greatest indicator of breast cancer risk” and is considered 10 times more important than a positive family history for the disease. Because physiological changes over time are known to precede morphological changes, an abnormal thermogram can often be the first warning sign of an increased risk for breast cancer.
The value of thermography as a complementary tool – An increase in the detection rate of breast cancer has been demonstrated in a number of peer-reviewed studies with the combined use of clinical breast examination, mammography, and thermography.
Is Thermography Experimental?
No! Based upon the available research data at the time, the U.S. Department of Health education and Welfare (HEW) determined that thermography was beyond the experimental stage in 1972. Thermography was approved as an adjunctive imaging procedure by the FDA in 1982 (Federal Register, Vol 47, No. 20, pp 4419-4420). The FDA approved thermography as follows: “Telethermographic systems intended for adjunctive diagnostic screening for the detection of breast cancer or other uses” (Code of Federal Regulations—Title 21, Section 884.2980 Telethermographic Systems).
Why is Thermography Not Embraced by Mainstream Medicine?
As a stand-alone test, thermography has been criticized for its high rate of false negative and false positive results. Historically, infrared cameras lacked the sensitivity to detect subtle temperature changes necessary to identify and monitor disease.
What Is the Procedure If You Find Something Suspicious?
We will ask you to escalate to structural tests to make sure that nothing is being missed at that time. In the event that your other tests come back with negative results we will continue to monitor you with greater frequency to make sure that there are no changes compared to your baseline images. We will also advise you to look at some of the risk factors that may be elevating your rating. These may include hormonal issues, diet, nutritional disturbances, endocrine disorders, and lifestyle modifications, just to name a few.
What Should I Do to Prepare for My Thermography Exam?
No mechanical treatment or stimulation; this includes massage, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, TENS, physical therapy, electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound, hot or cold pack use. No exercise or strenuous physical activity.