GENERAL: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What certification should a thermographer have in order to perform this procedure?
A. Thermographers should hold certification from a professional body with approved code of ethics and practice protocols that include quality control guidelines. Our thermographers are trained and certified by the American College of Clinical Thermology at Duke University. The American College of Clinical Thermology is an accredited medical association.
Q. What parts of the body can be imaged?
A. Thermal images are taken of the whole body, or individual regions including breast, head, arm, leg, torso, etc. A lumbar assessment would typically include: low back, pelvis, and legs. A cervical assessment would typically include: head and neck, upper trunk, and arms.
Q. Can Thermography “detect” inflammation?
A. Yes. It is now known that inflammation is the precursor to many diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, etc. Early detection of inflammation can help in the prevention of many UNhealthy conditions. Thermography creates a digital map of your body depicting thermal patterns or your unique “thermal signature”. A trained specialist can then analyze your image or “thermogram” for abnormalities that may indicate signs of disease and/or developing pathology. Visualizing inflammation with thermography is a proactive, defensive approach towards significantly improving vitality and healthfulness.
Q. What does it mean to “cold stress” the patient? Do I really need this done?
A. Cold stressing is a test to measure sympathetic function; it is a useful test for a number of conditions including RSD (CRPS). Protocols used with our system for breast screening do NOT require routine cold stressing, although it may be requested by a referring physician or reading thermologist.
Q. What is the difference between high definition thermography and other types ?
A. Just about all modern cameras provide high-definition images. The ‘definition’ of a thermogram relates to how many individual temperature measurements are taken to build the image. The actual definition is not as important as how accurate and sensitive those temperature measurements are. The higher the definition, the better the picture will look but this does not mean that the accuracy is any better.
Describing a thermogram as ‘high definition’ maybe confusing and misleading as most so-called high-definition images are produced by software manipulation of the data. Low definition would be considered below 160 x 120 pixels. Industry standard is between 160 x 120 up to 320 x 240 pixels. High-definition would be considered above this and can be as high as 640 x 512 pixels.
Q. Is Thermography just some experimental tool?
A. Absolutely not. The manufacturer of the equipment (Med2000®) we use is well established as the market leader in clinical thermography, with the largest network of thermography systems installed in the world. Our system delivers a higher degree of sensitivity and specificity than any other thermography system on the market. World renown research institutes utilize the same equipment in clinical trials, nationally as well as internationally.
Q. What can thermography determine as far as hardening of the arteries?
A. Hardening of the arteries generally causes inflammation (and it is the inflammation that is causing the hardening as well).
There is no way to use DITI to determine the level of hardening or the extent but it can indicate the possibility of clinically significant arterial inflammation.
Q. How can thermography be used in legal cases?
A. The best education an attorney can find is: Trial Practice Library by: Wiley Law. “Thermography and Personal Injury Litigation” by Samual Hodge. ISBN: 0-471-84469-1.
Q. What can thermography see related to aneurysm?
A. DITI is not the test of choice for aneurysm, there are better tests for this. Some correlation is seen, at times, (hypothermic patterns in areas affected) but the specificity is too low to draw conclusions.
Q. Can thermography monitor the size of a tumor and tell if it is increasing or decreasing in size?
A. DITI cannot monitor the size of the tumor, just the activity related to it… such as the inflammation, vascular and lymph components. We can monitor increases and decreases in activity.
Q. Would DITI be able to monitor the growth of a mass?
A. DITI would provide useful information relating to the physicological status of any pathology and would be useful in monitoring any changes that take place including developing pathology. A baseline is necessary. The specificity between soft tissue swelling and other types of tissue density is very low but opinion can be given relating to ‘activity’ (inflammation / vascular / lymph) which may be helpful when correlated with other findings.
Q. Lymph cancer verses swelling?
A. We cannot differentiate between swelling and a mass. A baseline is required. It is possible to have lymph dysfunction / enlargement without associated thermal findings.
Q. Can we see organs?
A. No, just an indication of any organ dysfunction through a neurological response at the skin surface.
Q. How long after a patient has surgery in the area of interest, can they come in for thermal imaging?
A. (3) Three Months
Q. Do I really need to come back for a 3-month follow-up for a breast study?
A. The most accurate result we can produce is change over time. Before we can start to evaluate any changes, we need to establish an accurate and stable baseline for you. This baseline represents your unique thermal fingerprint, which will only be altered by developing pathology. A baseline cannot be established with only one study, as we would have no way of knowing if this is your normal pattern or if it is actually changing at the time of the first exam. By comparing two studies, three months apart, we are able to judge if your breast physiology is stable and suitable to be used as your normal baseline and safe for continued annual screening.
The reason a three-month interval is used relates to the period of time it takes for blood vessels to show change…a period of time less than three months may miss significant change…a period of time much more than three months can miss significant change that may have already taken place. There is NO substitute for establishing an accurate baseline. A single study cannot do this.
Q. Can thermography detect estrogen dominance and other hormonal changes seen in breasts?
A. It is impossible for any thermographic study to assess hormone levels. This can only be done with pathology, blood or saliva. Thermography can give useful information about hormonal imbalance or hormonal dysfunction, which could justify hormone testing to confirm.
Breast thermography can show findings consistent with estrogen dominance… vascular activity in both breasts that is associated with other findings, may be reported to justify additional testing to include estrogen dominance.
Q. Is it possible for ovarian cysts to show up on the thermal scans?
A. Yes, if they are active or inflammed.
Q. How long after a patient is finished breast feeding can she come in for thermal imaging?
A. (3) Three Months