Full Life Wellness Center provides thermal imaging services ranging from full body imaging to breast imaging.
What is medical infrared imaging?
Medical infrared imaging is a painless imaging procedure that uses no radiation, injections, or other invasive methods. It is a unique test that uses sophisticated medical infrared cameras and computer systems to image your body’s surface temperature patterns. These patterns of heat are altered when biochemical messages from within the body change the amount of heat given off at the surface of the skin. The test is painless, economical, and is FDA approved as an adjunctive imaging procedure.
What does it have to offer?
The technology may provide both an early warning system and a method of analysis that may get to the cause of a problem that is not responding to treatment. Unlike other forms of imaging that detect structural changes such as a tumor or a broken bone, infrared imaging looks at the body’s subtle chemical and nervous system signals. These biochemical signals may aid in finding the cause of a current problem or one in advance of changes that can be seen on other tests. If the signals are an early warning, your doctor may be able to outline a method for preventing future problems before they cause irreversible damage.
Some of the conditions that may have associated infrared thermal markers:
- Breast Cancer
- Thyroid Disorders
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Sports Injuries
- Circulation Problems
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
- Chronic Pain Conditions
- And many others …..
What is the procedure like?
After completing a health history form, you will be taken to a special temperature controlled imaging room. Prior to the procedure you will be given a patient preparation form (find at the bottom of this page) to follow. You will be asked to wear a gown and wait for a brief period while your body acclimates to the temperature of the room. The gown will be removed to expose the skin as multiple images are taken of the surface of the body. The whole procedure takes about one hour to an hour and a half. You will be mailed a written report with copies sent to your health care provider at your request.
What makes infrared imaging different from other tests?
The greatest difference lies in the type of information you get. For example, CT, MRI, and EBT look into the body for structural changes such as tumors. If no tumor is found, does this mean you’re in good health?
The majority of health problems that affect us do not come in the form of tumors. Many of the health problems that slowly evolve and rob you of your quality of life may not be detected by other imaging procedures. Infrared imaging provides a different way of examining the body.
By imaging physiology rather than structure, infrared imaging is unique in that it looks at how the body is functioning. Infrared imaging is an additional procedure that your doctor may use along with other tests to evaluate your health. Keep in mind that like other imaging procedures, infrared imaging does not provide a diagnosis. Only your doctor can provide you with a diagnosis.
What does breast thermography have to offer?
- Some of the earliest signs that a breast cancer may be forming. Angiogenesis, or new blood vessel formation, is necessary to sustain the growth of a tumor. Breast thermography may be the first signal that such a possibility is developing.
- Individualized breast cancer risk assessment. Women with a family history are definitely at greater risk, but 75% of women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease. If discovered, certain thermographic risk markers may warn a woman that she needs to work closely with her doctor to improve her breast health.Monitoring with regular check-ups and thermography will look for improvements with time or possibly the earliest signs that a problem may exist.
- A possible role in breast cancer prevention. Is an imbalance of hormones (estrogen, progesterone or testosterone) causing increased activity in your breast? Certain thermographic signs may suggest the effects of hormones in the breasts. This may be the first marker that alerts your doctor to this possibility. Your doctor will first need to run further tests to confirm this. If these tests are positive, your doctor may use these tests to monitor your care.
- Imaging for younger women. Do you know that approximately 15% of all breast cancers occur in women under 45? This is the most common cancer in women in this age group. Breast cancers in younger women are usually more aggressive and have poorer survival rates. Breast thermography offers younger women a valuable imaging tool that they can add to their regular breast health check-ups beginning with baseline imaging at age 20.
Partner in early breast cancer detection
Breast thermography has developed into an important adjunctive tool in the fight against breast cancer. As a safe, comfortable, and sensitive procedure,thermography is used to detect infrared risk markers that may suggest some of the earliest signs of breast cancer.
Thermography uses sophisticated infrared cameras and computer systems to image heat patterns from the surface of breasts. Alterations in these images are caused when cellular changes increase blood flow(angiogenesis); thus, warming the breast. These thermovascular changes may be among the earliest signs of breast cancer (3, 6, 7, 8).
What makes breast thermography so unique?
- Thermography is an imaging procedure that uses no radiation, injections, or other invasive methods.
- Infrared risk markers of early stage cancers that are missed by other methods may be discovered with thermography (3, 6, 7, 8).
Infrared markers may be the first signal that an early stage cancer is developing (3).
- Women who are on hormone replacement, or have fibrocystic, large, dense, or augmented breasts (6, 8) pose no difficulties when it comes to the reading of thermograms.
- Since thermography does not involve contact with the skin, the procedure is quite comfortable.
- Studies show that an abnormal thermogramis the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer, 10 times more significant than a family history of the disease (5).
In the absence of other positive tests, an abnormal thermogram may give a woman an early warning that a pathological process may be occurring. By maintaining close monitoring of her breast health with the addition of thermography to her regular exams, a woman may have a much better chance of detecting cancer at its earliest stage and preventing invasive tumor growth.
About the procedure
Once in the office, you will be asked to fill out a breast health history form. Prior to the procedure you are given a patient preparation form to follow. The procedure itself begins with a 15-minute temperature acclimation period. During this time you will be disrobed from the waist up while in a special temperature controlled imaging room. Once acclimated to the temperature of the room, you will be placed in front of an infrared camera while multiple images are taken from different angles.
Early detection means life
- Baseline thermogram at age 20
- 20-30 years of age – every 3 years
- 30 years of age and over – every year
Current statistics indicate that approximately 15% of all breast cancers occur under the age of 45 (1). Consequently, the above guidelines include careful breast monitoring during these years. With the addition of thermography, interval cancers (cancers that show up between yearly exams) may also be detected much sooner.
Studies show an increase in survival rate when thermography and mammography are used together (3).
Breast cancer is the most common cancer of women, and the risk increases with age (1). Risk is also higher in women whose close relatives have had the disease. Women without children, and those who have had their first child after age 30, also seem to be at higher risk.However, every woman is at risk of developing breast cancer. Current research indicates that 1 in every 8 women in the US will get breast cancer in their lifetime (1).
It has been determined that no one method of examination alone will serve all the needs in early breast cancer detection (1, 2, 6). Thermography’s role is in addition to mammography not in lieu of. Thermography does not replace mammography and mammography does not replace thermography,the tests complement each other. It is thermography’s unique ability to detect the abnormal heat and blood vessel changes produced by diseased breast tissue that allows for early detection (3, 6, 7, 8). Since it has been determined that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer, we must use every means possible to detect cancers when there is the greatest chance for survival. Proper use of breast self-exams, physician exams, thermography, and mammography together provide the earliest detection system available to date (3, 7, 8). If treated in the earliest stages, cure rates greater than 95% are possible (3, 6).
1.) American Cancer Society – Breast Cancer Guidelines and Statistics, 2009-2010
2.) I. Nyirjesy, M.D. et al ; Clinical Evaluation, Mammography and Thermography in the Diagnosis of Breast Carcinoma. Thermology, 1986; 1: 170-173.
3.) M. Gautherie, Ph.D.; Thermobiological Assessment of Benign and Malignant Breast Diseases. Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol., 1983; V 147, No. 8: 861-869.
4.) C. Gros, M.D., M. Gautherie, Ph.D. ; Breast Thermography and Cancer Risk Prediction. Cancer, 1980; V 45, No. 1: 51-56.
5.) P. Haehnel, M.D., M. Gautherie, Ph.D. et al; Long-Term Assessment of Breast Cancer Risk by Thermal Imaging. In: Biomedical Thermology, 1980; 279-301.
6.) P. Gamigami, M.D.; Atlas of Mammography: New Early Signs in Breast Cancer. Blackwell Science, 1996.
7.) P.Ahlgren, M.D., E. Yu, M.D., J. Keyserlingk, M.D.; Is itTime to Reassess the Value of Infrared Breast Imaging? Primary Care & Cancer (NCI), 1998; V 18, No. 2.
8.) N. Belliveau, M.D., J. Keyserlingk, M.D. et al ; Infrared Imaging of the Breast: Initial Reappraisal Using High-Resolution Digital Technology in 100 Successive Cases of Stage I and II Breast Cancer. Breast Journal, 1998; V 4, N 4.
Note: Infrared imaging is designed to be used in addition to other tests and is not a replacement or alternative to any other form of imaging or test. Infrared imaging cannot be used as a “body scan” to look inside the body for tumors or the spread of cancer. The technology cannot see into the cavities of the body. As such, infrared imaging cannot visualize the heart, colon, or other internal organs. Please see your doctor for appropriate tests and imaging if you have these concerns.