What is Breast Thermography?
Breast thermography is a valid, safe and non-invasive breast screening technique. The procedure takes only a few minutes, and there is no touching or squeezing of the breast.
Breast thermography uses special infrared-sensitive cameras to digitally record images of the variations in surface temperature of the human 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 which is what is measured in thermal imaging.
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 rooms 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 19C-22°C (. 67°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.
In order to ensure that your imaging and reporting is accurate, the following instructions must be adhered to:
Do not wear restrictive clothing such as a bra to the exam.
Tie your hair up and do not wear jewellery around the neck area (just for the imaging).
No prolonged sun exposure (especially sunburn) to the breasts 5 days prior to your exam.
No use of lotions, creams, powders, or makeup on the breasts the day of the exam.
No use of deodorants or antiperspirants the day of your exam.
No physical stimulation (sexual or otherwise) or treatment of the breasts for 24 hours before the exam.
No exercise 4 hours prior to your exam.
No shaving on the day of the exam to avoid skin abrasions.
If bathing, it must be no closer than 1 hour before the exam.
If you are nursing, please try to nurse as far from 1 hour before the exam as possible.
No smoking at least 1 hour before imaging
No Hot or Cold drinks 1 hour prior to imaging
Avoid booking the exam during days 7-14 or your menstrual cycle (day 1 is the first day of your period)
After the 1st set of images, you will be asked to plunge your hands into cool (10°C or 50°F) water for 60 seconds. This is known as a functional test - cool water will produce a physiological response that will lead to vasoconstriction of you blood vessels.
Normal blood vessels will contract and cool down while blood vessels feeding abnormal cells will not since their metabolic rate is much higher. The technician will then repeat the process of taking the images for a before and after view.
During the examination you will disrobe from the waist up for both imaging and to allow for the surface temperature of the body to acclimate with the room. A female technician will take your images. Surgical procedures such as implants, reductions, and biopsies do not interfere with infrared imaging. Breast infrared imaging is perfectly 100% safe to have during pregnancy or when nursing.
You will be requested to sign a thermography consent form before proceeding with imaging.
shows thermal asymmetry.
.intense vascularity with cold nipple.
Fibroid cysts in right breast
Normal breasts; venous symmetry.