What is Breast Thermography?
Breast thermography is an accurate, safe and non-invasive breast screening technique. The procedure takes only a few minutes, and there is no touching or compression of the breast whatsoever.
Breast thermography uses special infrared-sensitive cameras to digitally record images of the variations in surface temperature of the human breast. It's basically a specialized HDTV night vision camera used to record images of the heat patterns of the breast. The recorded images are called thermograms.
Blood vessels, cysts, other benign sources, and metabolic processes such as growing breast tumors all radiate heat from within the breast. A portion of the radiated heat reaches the surface of the breast, where it composes a stable thermal pattern.
A breast thermography examination consists of recording these thermal patterns and interpreting them according to a strict and complicated analytical procedure. When analyzed properly by highly trained individuals, the images implicitly disclose various pathological and abnormal processes. The breast's Thermal Score (TH rating) is dependent on the characteristics of more than twenty different thermal signs, which taken together indicates the patient's risk for breast cancer development. The range of scores is divided into five classes. Each class indicates an assessment of the patient's risk. The five classes are Normal, Borderline Normal, Borderline Abnormal, Abnormal, and Severely Abnormal.
PATIENT PREPARATION FOR THERMAL IMAGING
When the patient's presentation or the examination and its environment are not controlled, the diagnostic value of thermography suffers. Several internal and external factors have a significant effect on the examination's integrity and credibility. To enhance and assure the accuracy of thermographic studies, particularly serial examinations, it is essential to minimize the effects of these variables.
Relatively small room are required for patient cooling and evaluation; a typical examination room has proven to be generally acceptable. Sources of heat or cold which significantly affect the ambient environment of the cooling and examination rooms should be eliminated. High energy lights or office equipment, warm window areas, or drafts caused by heating or cooling equipment should be particularly avoided. If more than one room is used for cooling and/or examination, the rooms must be maintained at the same temperature, and transition from the cooling area to the examination room should be performed as quickly as possible.
The temperature of the cooling/examination room should be 20C-22°C (. 68°F - 72°F). Note that temperature stability, not just the absolute temperature, is important. Thermograms performed in environments below 66°F or above 74°F are unsuitable for interpretation.
PRE-IMAGING PREPARATION - to consider when you book your appointment
The phase of the patient's menstrual cycle at the time of the thermography examination is of particular importance. Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle produce changes in the thermal characteristics of the breasts, which can result in serious errors. Examinations performed during these times should be rejected as unsuitable for interpretation.
Estrogen dilates blood vessels, so the patient's estrogen level can have a profound affect on the thermal visualization of the breast's underlying vascularity, resulting in misleading examination data. Estrogen level is significantly elevated during the week following menstruation, i.e., the follicular period; consequently, the examination should not be performed during days 7 through 14 of the patient's menstrual cycle. The ideal time period is from ovulation to the onset of menstruation.
Illnesses, with or without temperature elevation, may alter the normal thermal characteristics of the breasts; thus, patients suffering from colds, influenza, etc. should not be scheduled for an examination.
48-hours prior to your imaging:
Alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea or soft drinks containing caffeine should not be consumed for 12 hours prior to the test. Hot or cold beverages should be avoided for at least 1 full hour before an examination is performed.
If possible, aspirin, pain medications, vasodilators/constrictors and/or other similar medications should be avoided for 24 hours prior to the test.
Cigarettes should not be smoked for 2 hours prior to the examination.
The examination should not be scheduled within 2 weeks after the patient has been subjected to sunburn. Lotions or ointments should not be applied to the breasts for 24 hours prior to the test.
Physical exercises or massage that might affect breast circulation should be avoided for 24 hours prior to the examination.
shows thermal asymmetry.
.intense vascularity with cold nipple.
Fibroid cysts in right breast
Normal breasts; venous symmetry.