Infrared Mammography

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Medical-grade thermography is oftentimes referred to as thermology, digital infrared imaging, diagnostic infrared imaging, infrared mammography or tele-thermology. It involves the use of a highly resolute and sensitive infrared (thermographic) camera. Medical-grade thermography offers a safe, non-invasive procedure that evaluates the levels, patterns and behavior of the skin’s temperature.


Whole-Body Medicine is pleased to have Therma-Scan™, the world’s premier source for the analysis and reporting of medical thermology available at our Fairfield, Connecticut health center.

Therma-Scan was founded in 1972 with unrelenting commitment to innovation, integrity and the highest ethical, technical and professional standards in the practice of diagnostic infrared imaging, Therma-Scan is the most experienced and accomplished provider of medical thermology in the world.  Certified by the American Board of Thermology in oncology, neuroscience and vascular thermology, Therma-Scan has analyzed and reported more than one million patient studies for more than forty network partners worldwide, all using medical-grade digital infrared cameras and imaging technique.  All stages of data transmission and storage are compliant with HIPAA regulations.

Medical-grade breast thermography (MGBT) evaluates tissue function and is distinctly different from structure-based diagnostic methods, such as X-ray mammography, MRI and ultrasound. Thermology is the medical science that derives diagnostic indications from highly detailed and sensitive infrared images of the human body by applying a quantitative and objective analytic system.

The process for professional medical-grade breast thermography (MGBT) screening takes only minutes. A special infrared camera takes images of the bare breast or breast area and the images taken provide valuable data for the thermologist to evaluate for further diagnostic testing. No technician or equipment comes in contact with the client

MGBT can provide an effective screening for women for whom mammography isn’t effective. MGBT is based upon tissue function and complements mammography, ultrasound and MRI by its ability to indicate breast cancer in a completely different manner. MGBT can indicate the relative aggressiveness of breast cancer and off-set the over-diagnosis issue of mammography. MGBT can’t locate a suspicious breast cancer with sufficient precision to perform a biopsy (tissue sampling).


Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: What is medical thermology?

Answer: Medical thermology is the scientific process of diagnostic thermal imaging.

Question: How does medical thermology work?

Answer: Medical thermology can reveal the abnormal metabolic and blood-flow features that cause changes in the temperature of the skin that are characteristic of certain types of diseases including breast cancer. Skin temperature is a result of blood-flow and metabolic activity near the surface of the body. Medical thermology is completely different from all other forms of diagnostic imaging as it evaluates features of body function (physiology) rather than structure (X-ray, ultrasound or MRI). The glandular and ductal networks of the breasts are specialized variations of sweat glands and are actually organs of the skin rather than internal organs.  The blood-flow and metabolic activity of the female breasts are highly influenced by estrogens and progesterone hormones and the phases of the menstrual cycle as well as pregnancy and lactation.  These influences will manifest changes in the breasts’ thermal features. Typically, medical thermology indicates breast cancer by a detailed evaluation of the levels, patterns and behavior of “Hot Spots” on the skin that result from abnormal blood-flow and metabolic conditions characteristic of cancer.  The “Hot Spots” of breast cancer occur as a result of the uncontrolled and excessive flow of the body’s core-temperature blood to a relatively superficial area.  This excessive blood-flow occurs simultaneously with the first cellular changes of cancer and precedes the development of a physically-discernible tumor.  This explains the ability of medical thermology to provide the earliest objective indication of breast cancer, often years prior to structural-based diagnostic imaging, such as X-ray mammography and ultrasound.

Question: Who should have breast thermology?

Answer: Most women should start annual breast thermology at 25 years of age and can be self-referred. Every expert agrees earlier detection of breast cancer enables earlier treatment with better results that saves lives.  Breast thermology is completely safe (non X-ray) and often provides the very first objective indication for all forms of breast cancer and has a very high diagnostic sensitivity for women of all ages.  Breast cancer is the largest cause of death for women aged 29-45 and, generally, breast cancer takes many years from its inception to the death of its victims.  Therefore, most women would benefit by including breast thermology into their annual healthcare by the age of 25.  Because the thermology imaging is without any risk of physical harm, women can be self-referred for routine screening.  However, Therma-Scan requires every woman to share the breast thermology report with their professional healthcare provider that is capable of ordering the other indicated diagnostic procedures to complement her study.  Breast thermology can also be useful to monitor changes to the specific metabolic and blood vessel features of breast cancer during and after many forms of treatment.  However, this monitoring must be done in close coordination with the treatment program as directed by a personal physician.

Question: Do I have to prepare for an imaging scan?

Answer: Thermology is an evaluation of the levels, patterns and behavior of the skin’s temperature.  To achieve a meaningful evaluation, you should avoid conditions that would cause adverse influence. You will be provided with a list of instructions that you must follow prior to your appointment.

Question: What can I expect during the imaging process?

Answer: You will stand before the camera and make two sets of images of your breasts from the front and the both sides with one-minute emersion of your hands in cool water between them. The entire process is typically completed in thirty minutes from your appointment time.  No objects, personnel, lights, nor any other forms of energy (non X-ray) are directed at you.  Therma-Scan provides the highest standard of professionalism, respects your privacy and guards your confidential information under the HIPAA regulations.

The thermology technologist will ask you to stand about four to six feet in front of the infrared camera and turn to your side while making the first image.  Then you will be asked to turn to the opposite side for the second image and face directly into the camera for the third image.  You will be asked to place both hands into a basin of cool water for the autonomic challenge for one minute, quickly dry your hands and repeat the imaging sequence.  You will be able to watch your own images on a video monitor as they are being recorded.  Once the thermology technologist confirms the quality of your images, you may get fully dressed and leave.

Question: If I see “Hot Spots” on the video monitor, does that mean I have breast cancer?

Answer: NO! There can be many reasons for high thermal energy patterns (“Hot Spots”) in your breasts and cancer is only one of them.  There is no distinct level or pattern of thermal energy that characterizes breast cancer and it is not “color-coded” on our video monitor.  “Hot Spots” may be the result of tissue inflammation or other benign metabolic activity unrelated to cancer.  The thermology technologist is not able to give you any immediate results based upon an impression of your images as the evaluation of your infrared images requires a specific, deliberate and detailed analysis with an objective and quantitative expert system before any conclusions are made.

Question: Is breast thermology a benefit of my health insurance?

Answer: Probably not.  However, your cost is artificially low to make it affordable.

Question: Can thermology diagnose breast cancer?

Answer: Not by itself.  No single or even combined imaging tests can diagnose (definition: a medical conclusion) breast cancer.  Cancer is diagnosed only by themost specific procedure possible; a detailed evaluation of an actual tissue sample (biopsy).  Every form of medical imaging (X-ray mammogram, ultrasound, MRI and thermology) is intended to provide the specific characteristics of a disease (definition: diagnostic) that will indicate the individuals and exact locations that need to be biopsied.

All diagnostic tests are graded by their sensitivity (how well a test correctly identifies the presence of a disease) and specificity (how well a test correctly identifies the absence of a disease).  Unfortunately, every means of diagnostic testing is imperfect and some are seriously degraded by patient conditions.  Because of the high sensitivity (approximately 97%) and good specificity (approximately 75%) of breast thermology and given the risk level for breast cancer, we contend that every woman needs the combined benefits of several means of diagnostic imaging.  Breast thermology is usually able to detect the earliest characteristic signs of breast cancer but is not able to provide the exact location of the abnormal cells with the precision necessary for a biopsy.  Thus, a multi-modality program is necessary for the early detection of breast cancer.  Thermology is vital to the healthcare of every woman because of its high sensitivity and its complete safety.

Note: The images and information on this webpage are reproduced, with permission, by Therma-Scan™. Please visit their website for further information.


Mammography and Medical Grade Breast Thermography by Phil Hoekstra, PH.D

The Best Breast Cancer Screening Tests  by Dr. Christine Northrup
Call Us: 203-371-8258


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