Thermography is a non-invasive test that involves no radiation.
Infrared thermography (IRT), thermal imaging, and thermal video are examples of infrared imaging science. Thermographic cameras detect radiation in the long-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum and produce images of that radiation, called thermograms. Since infrared radiation is emitted by all objects with a temperature above absolute zero, thermography makes it possible to see one’s environment with or without visible illumination. The amount of radiation emitted by an object increases with temperature; therefore, thermography allows one to see variations in temperature.
Thermography is used to determine areas of the body that have irregular blood flow, medical uses include allergy detection and breast screening.
The concept of breast thermography is based on scientific data confirming that tumors produce more angiogenesis, which leads to more blood flow, producing more heat that can be detected and imaged.
Thermography devices have been cleared by the FDA for use as an adjunct, or additional, tool for detecting breast cancer.
While thermography can be very effective in early detection and cancer risk assessment, it should be used in conjunction with other methods of screening and not as a standalone test.
Thermography is utilized as an adjunctive imaging procedure only and, as such, is not a replacement for or alternative to any other form of imaging. Since thermography only detects heat at the surface of the body, the technology cannot see into the cranial vault, thoracic or pelvic cavities, or deep into the body to visualize organs or bones. All thermography reports are meant to identify thermal emissions that suggest potential risk markers only and do not in any way suggest a diagnosis or treatment. Since a diagnosis cannot be made from an infrared image, thermal markers must be correlated by the patient’s treating physician with additional testing and procedures before a final diagnosis can be made.