Thermography, or Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI), aids in the detection and monitoring of many types of diseases and physical injury.
One of thermography’s most common applications is in breast cancer screening. There is ongoing controversy over screening mammography. Thermography, however, is not a replacement for mammography. It is FDA approved as an adjunct to mammography, not a stand-alone test. We believe that mammography and thermography are complementary studies, and Greenpoint Thermography advocates an integrative approach to breast screening.
Thermography can be particularly helpful in women (often younger) who have dense breasts. This dense normal tissue decreases the sensitivity of mammography but has no impact on thermographic imaging. In fact, a recent study found that the sensitivity of mammography alone for women with dense breasts is as low as 31%.[i] Cancer detection rates are as high as 98% in women who take advantage of both thermography and mammography.[ii]
There are a host of indications for medical DITI other than monitoring breast health. DITI can assist in the diagnosis and evaluation of a large number of injuries and conditions. Many people undergo periodic whole-body screening because of thermography’s ability to detect conditions and diseases before they become apparent on standard diagnostic tests. Any individual with unexplained pain can also benefit from a DITI scan. Thermal changes are often the earliest sign of vascular disease, immune dysfunction, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction. It is also the earliest indication of systemic inflammation, a precursor to many diseases—including cancer.
Thermography is used as an aid in diagnosis or monitoring treatment in the following conditions:
- Unexplained pain
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Dental and periodontal disease
- Vascular disease (including occlusive disease, deep venous thrombosis)
- Back injuries
- Identification of myofascial trigger points and tender points
- Monitoring the effects of Therapeutics
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
There are many other applications of thermography, and your healthcare provider can help you determine if thermography will be beneficial for you.
[i] Berg, W.A., Zhang, Z., Lehrer, D., et al., Detection of breast cancer with annual screening ultrasound or a single screening MRI to mammography in women with elevated breast cancer risk. JAMA 2012; 307: 1394-404.
[ii] Keyserlignk, J.R., Ahlgren, P.D., et al., Infrared imaging of the breast; initial reappraisal using high-resolution digital technology in 100 successive cases of stage 1 and 2 breast cancer. Breast J., 4,1998.