Thermography

   
thermography

A tool in helping to evaluate inflammatory conditions

Digital Thermal Imaging (DITI)

Medical DITI is a noninvasive evaluation technique that allows the examiner to visualize and quantify changes in skin surface temperature. An infrared scanning device is used to convert infrared radiation emitted from the skin surface into electrical impulses that are visualised in colour on a monitor. This visual image graphically maps the body temperature and is referred to as a thermogram. The spectrum of colours indicate an increase or decrease in the amount of infrared radiation being emitted from the body surface. Since there is a high degree of thermal symmetry in the normal body, subtle abnormal temperature asymetry’s can be easily identified.

Medical DITI’s major clinical value is in its high sensitivity to pathology in the vascular, muscular, neural and skeletal systems and as such can contribute to the pathogenesis and diagnosis made by the clinician.

Medical DITI has been used extensively in human medicine in the North America, Europe and Asia for the past 20 years. Until now, cumbersome equipment has hampered its diagnostic and economic viability. Current state of the art PC based Infrared technology designed specifically for clinical application has changed all this.

Clinical uses for DITI include:

  • to define the extent of a lesion of which a diagnosis has previously been made;
  • to localise an abnormal area not previously identified, so further diagnostic tests can be performed;
  • to detect early lesions before they are clinically evident;
  • to monitor the healing process before the patient is returned to work or training.

Skin blood flow is under the control of the sympathetic nervous system. In normal people there is a symmetrical dermal pattern which is consistent and reproducible for any individual. This is recorded in precise detail with a temperature sensitivity of 0.01°C by DITI.

The neuro-thermography application of DITI measures the somatic component of the sympathetic nervous system by assessing dermal blood flow. The sympathetic nervous system is stimulated at the same anatomical location as its sensory counterpart and produces a ‘somato sympathetic response’. The somato sympathetic response appears on DITI as a localised area of altered temperature with specific features for each anatomical lesion.

The mean temperature differential in peripheral nerve injury is 1.5°C. In sympathetic dysfunction’s (RSD / SMP / CRPS) temperature differentials ranging from 1° C to 10° C depending on severity are not uncommon.

Rheumatological processes generally appear as ‘hot’ areas with increased temperature patterns. The pathology is generally an inflammatory process, i.e. synovitis of joints and tendon sheaths, epicondylitis, capsular and muscle injuries, etc.

Both hot and cold responses may coexist if the pain associated with an inflammatory focus excites an increase in sympathetic activity. Also, vascular conditions are readily demonstrated by DITI including Raynauds disease, Vasculitis, Limb Ischemia, DVT, etc.

Medical DITI is filling the gap in clinical diagnosis …X ray, C.T. Ultrasound and M.R.I. etc., are tests of anatomy. E.M.G. is a test of motor physiology. DITI is unique in its capability to show physiological change and metabolic processes. It has also proven to be a very useful complementary procedure to other diagnostic modalities.

Unlike most diagnostic modalities DITI is non invasive. It is a very sensitive and reliable means of graphically mapping and displaying skin surface temperature. With DITI you can diagnosis, evaluate, monitor and document a large number of injuries and conditions, including soft tissue injuries and sensory/autonomic nerve fibre dysfunction.

Medical DITI can:

  • graphically display the very subjective feeling of pain by objectively displaying the changes in skin surface temperature that accompany pain states;
  • show a combined effect of the autonomic nervous system and the vascular system, down to capillary dysfunctions. The effects of these changes show as asymmetry’s in temperature distribution on the surface of the body;
  • monitor of thermal abnormalities present in a number of diseases and physical injuries. It is used as an aid for diagnosis and prognosis, as well as therapy follow up and rehabilitation monitoring, within clinical fields that include Rheumatology, neurology, physiotherapy, sports medicine, oncology, pediatrics, orthopedics and many others.

Results obtained with medical DITI systems are totally objective and show excellent correlation with other diagnostic tests.

We encourage you to visit Integrated Health Clinic to meet with our physicians and learn more about this imaging technique.

Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI) specific to breast health is commonly referred to as Breast Thermography. Thermography is a painless, non invasive, imaging procedure with no exposure to radiation. It is used as part of an early detection program to give women of all ages the opportunity to increase their chances of detecting breast disease at an early stage.

Thermography’s role in breast cancer and other breast disorders is to help in early detection and monitoring of abnormal physiology. This 15 minute non invasive test is a valuable procedure for alerting your medical practitioner to the possibility of underlying breast irregularities that are indicators of potential disease. When used with other integrated procedures, it helps to provide a comprehensive evaluation of an individuals breast health.

Thermography is aimed at improving the chances for detecting fast-growing, active irregularities in the intervals between mammographic screenings or when mammography is not indicated by screening guidelines for women of identified age groups. All patients thermograms (breast images) are kept on record and form a baseline for all future routine evaluations and trending analysis.

General Breast Health Information

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a complex disease that will affect 1 in 9 Canadian women during their lifetime. In 2012, it is estimated that 22,700 Canadian women and 200 Canadian men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Breast cancer incidence increases with age

Canadian cancer statistics have been gathered over time and from across Canada. They give us part of the picture of how breast cancer affects lives in Canada. Statistics show us how breast cancer incidence (the number of new cases) increases with age. The following are estimates for 2011:

  • 965 breast cancer cases diagnosed in women under the age of 40
  • 3,500 breast cancer cases diagnosed in women 40–49
  • 6,300 breast cancer cases diagnosed in women 50–59
  • 6,200 breast cancer cases diagnosed in women 60–69
  • 6,500 breast cancer cases diagnosed in women 70+

When Should Women Begin Examinations using Thermography?

Women at any age can begin utilizing thermography as a safe tool for assessing breast health. Thermography is not dependent on the density of a women’s breast nor do implants or surgical procedures effect the process of detecting your thermal pattern. Thermography is especially appropriate for younger women between 30 & 50 whose denser breast tissue makes it more difficult to pick up irregularities. This test can provide a ‘flag’ to the doctor or mammographer that a specific area of the breast needs particular close examination.

Understanding Risk Factors

Conclusive research has established certain risk factors as contributing to the potential occurance of breast cancer. Several modifiable risk factors for breast cancer are related to the way we live – making changes in these areas of your life will help you to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Non-modifiable Risk Factors

factors you should understand

  • Gender & age
  • Personal cancer history
  • Family cancer history & genetics
  • Early menstruation & late menopause
  • Breast density & conditions
  • Modifiable Risk Factors

factors you can control

  • Body weight
  • Diet & dietary habits
  • Physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Radiation exposure
  • Environmental influences
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Birth control pills
  • HRT

Screening Opportunities

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health provided the following recommendations, specific to women of average risk of breast cancer, regarding the use of mammography: (similar recommendations from the US Task Force)

  • For women aged 40 – 49: NOT recommend for routine screening with mammography.
  • For women aged 50-69 years: recommend for routine screening with mammography every 2 to 3 years.
  • For women aged 70 – 74 years: recommend for routine screening with mammography every 2 to 3 years.

So what are my options?

There is a definitive shift in thinking taking place in Canada and the United States aimed at reducing radiation exposure from annual mammograms and using mammography in a more strategic and focused manner. DITI provides an opportunity to address radiation exposure while still maintaining proactive focus on breast health.

DITI uses NO radiation; thereby reducing radiation exposure and its potential impact on breast health.

DITI can be used by any women as a preventive health tool to better understand your breast health. It can provide women under 50 years with a complementary option and a safe breast health monitoring tool between recommended mammography scans.

DITI can provide you with early indication information by flagging physiological areas of concern that could lead to the development of breast cancer. Thereby empowering you and your Doctor to make an educated decision regarding the subsequent strategic use of diagnostic tools like ultrasound, mammography & biopsy.

Doctors do not yet know how to prevent breast cancer. However, you can increase your chances of detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages by understanding the need for, and participating in an early detection program. If cancer is found early, there are choices for treatment. With prompt treatment, the outlook is good. In fact, most women treated for early breast cancer will be free from breast cancer for the rest of their lives.

Also, don’t overlook that MEN account for 1% of all Breast Cancers

We encourage you to visit Integrated Health Clinic to meet with our physicians and learn more about Breast Thermography.

Preparation for the Exam

The Meditherm Imaging Camera is an advanced and sophisticated device with high thermal sensitivity and tremendous image quality. Consequently, unlike with older generation cameras, patient pre-exam considerations and preparations are minimal. The key general point to remember is that you should avoid things that could impact your body temperature. The following guidelines apply:

  • On the day of your exam avoid activities that could significantly impact body temperature. Examples include Saunas, intense physical activity, full body massage, etc.
  • Do not consume hot beverages 30 min prior to your exam.
  • Showers and baths are permited on the day of your exam but not within 1-hour prior to the exam and do not linger in the hot water.
  • Make-up, deodorant, etc are permitted but should be lightly applied.
  • We ask that you please put your hair up prior to your exam, or bring with you the necessary pins, clips or bands so that you are able to put your hair up and clear of your face and neck.

The Exam

The exam appointment is scheduled for 30 min. This includes time for you to arrive at the clinic, complete the Thermography Intake Form, acclimatize to the exam room temperature and complete the imaging.

Note: Cold Stressing will NOT be used for your routine exam, meaning that there is no requirement for you to immerse your hands in cold water before imaging. For additional information on Cold StressingPlease Click Here.

Imaging Equipment

At Integrated Health Clinic we use the Meditherm med2000 Iris 7.5 Advanced Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera for all exams. This camera maximizes the potential of thermography for the best possible adjunctive assessment to aid treatment by delivering medical grade sensitivity and specificity. The Meditherm med2000 product received FDA approval in 1982 as an ajunct to mammography and has a 20 year history of successful performance and reliability. The Iris 7.5 is the Meditherm industry standard flagship and Integrated Health ClinicTM is proud to offer this medical grade imaging technology to our patients.

FAQs

Q. I hear from some people that you need to “cold stress” the patient. What is “cold stressing”? Do I really need to do it?

A. Cold stressing is a test to measure sympathetic function. It is a useful test for a some conditions including RSD (CRPS). Protocols used with the Meditherm system for breast screening do not require routine cold stressing.

Q. Who certifies your thermographers?

A. Thermography technicians are trained by Dr. Peter Leando, Phd, Medical Director of Meditherm, and Board Member of the American College of Clinical Thermology at Duke University. The American College of Clinical Thermology is an accredited medical association.

Q. Who reads the images and reports?

A. Images are sent to an interpretation service who employ Medical Doctors who are all board certified as Thermologists by the American College of Clinical Thermology at Duke University. These doctors have many years experience and are able to ask for second opinions whenever necessary.

Q. How quickly will I get my report back?

A. Reports are normally ready within 48-72 hours. You may collect your report when it is ready or allow for mailing time. If you need your report within 24 hours you can pay an ‘urgent’ fee.

We encourage you to visit Integrated Health ClinicTM to meet with our physicians and learn more about Breast Thermography.

Doctors providing this service

All IHC Doctors offer access to this program

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