Thermography uses a digital infrared thermal imaging to detect and record the infrared heat emitting from the surface of the body. Clusters of abnormal cells often have an increased blood supply that leads to an elevation in the temperature of the skin over the area. Thermography, when used as an adjunct to mammography has the ability to warn women, sometime long before any other procedure, that inflammation is present and could later become something more serious in nature.
Changes of the breast surface temperature may be a sign of inflammation, hormonal imbalance, cyst formation or angiogenesis-formation of the new blood vessels.
Angiogenesis is a normal and vital process in growth and development, as well as in wound healing. However, it is also a fundamental step in the transition of tumors from a benign state to a malignant one.
Digital Infrared Imaging of the breast is approximately a 20 minutes procedure. It is non invasive, painless, non radiation and non compression test.
Females of all ages may benefit from breast digital infrared imaging. Combining thermography with mammography could be particularly useful for younger women who are known to have denser breast tissue. The thermography evaluation could be especially useful for women who have breast implants and who have had breast augmentation. For women who have had breast cancer in the past, thermography breast study may aid to assess the health of the breast that did not have cancer for early signs of inflammation or abnormal blood flow. Thermography is also useful in women who, for any reasons, are unable or unwilling to undergo routine mammography.
How thermography differs from mammography?
Thermograms look at vascular changes in the breast, as they detect blood flow patterns, inflammation and asymmetries. Mammograms look at anatomical changes in the breast, as they detect masses or lumps in the breast tissue. In other words, thermography is a method of surveying physiology (function). Mammography is a method of evaluating anatomy (structure).
It is important to be aware that thermography is an adjunctive diagnostic technique. Thermography is not a standalone procedure and does not replace mammography.