Thermography is an infrared measurement of temperature changes across the skin. This technique often helps identify areas of concern, such as inflammation leading to increased blood flow as well as areas of poor blood flow leading to cooler temperatures along the skin surface.
In medical practice, thermography is the process of taking a snapshot of your skin temperature. With an infrared camera, a person snaps a picture of your skin surface and then aided by computers, a digital picture of the varying skin temperature is seen. useful technology for assessing abnormalities in skin temperature. Your thermograph is almost like your fingerprint. It should not change over time, yet it is a dynamic (flowing) way to assess your health. Why have one done, you might ask?
Because of the body’s symmetry, the skin temperature should not vary from the left hand to the right hand, or the left breast to the right breast for example unless there is a problem. Indirectly, the thermogram is measuring the factors that affect blood flow to the skin surface and when the blood flow to one side of the body varies from that of the other. The factors that affect blood flow include growth proteins produced from tumors, blood clots, infection, and variations in the activity of the autonomic nervous system and a host of others.
While thermography is not a diagnostic tool, it can identify an actual problem with blood flow and when used in conjunction with mammography, it provides another form of information to investigate for possible tumor growth or other conditions that affect blood flow.
This technology is now being used in airports to determine if people are lying about what they take on board as well as identifying when their skin temperature is higher than normal thus identifying them as an “at risk” passenger to spread infection. There are many studies documenting the technology and benefits of thermography. Its application ranges from increased or decreased vascularization from tumor growth, damaged nerves from a bulging disc, to TMJ syndrome.
Certification for thermography is done by the American College of Clinical Thermography. Our office offers full body or region of Interest (such as the breast, or face, etc) thermography. An appointment for a thermogram in our office does not require seeing the physician and can be booked directly with the receptionist based on the availability of our thermographer. Thermography does not replace mammography. Both therapies utilized together are likely better at detecting a cancer than either one alone.