What is medical thermology?
Medical thermology is the science that derives diagnostic indications from highly detailed and sensitive infrared images of the human body. Medical thermology is sometimes referred to as digital infrared imaging, medical infrared imaging, involves the use high thermal and spatial resolution infrared (thermographic) cameras. Medical thermology is a patho-physiologic discipline that is completely non-contact and involves no form of energy imparted onto or into the body. Medical thermology has established applications in breast oncology, cardiology/vascular medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, neurology, occupational medicine, orthopedics, pain management and veterinary medicine. We specialize in Full Body and sevlected areas of concern thermology.
How does medical thermology work?
Medical thermology can reveal the abnormal metabolic and blood-flow features that cause changes in the temperature of the skin that are characteristic of certain types of diseases . Skin temperature is a result of blood-flow and metabolic activity near the surface of the body. Medical thermology provides a means of evaluating skin temperatures for specific abnormalities in patterns, levels and behaviors that are characteristic of certain disorders and diseases. Medical thermology is completely different from all other forms of diagnostic imaging as it evaluates features of body function (physiology) rather than structure (X-ray, ultrasound or MRI).
In the Breast for example The glandular and ductal networks of the breasts are specialized variations of sweat glands and are actually organs of the skin rather than internal organs. The blood-flow and metabolic activity of the female breast are highly influenced by estrogens and progesterone hormones and the phases of the menstrual cycle as well as pregnancy and lactation. These influences will manifest changes in the breasts’ thermal features.
Typically, medical thermology is an indicator by a detailed evaluation of the levels, patterns and behavior of “Hot Spots” on the skin that result from abnormal blood-flow and metabolic conditions characteristic of cancer. The “Hot Spots” occur as a result of the uncontrolled and excessive flow of the body’s core-temperature blood to a relatively superficial area. This excessive blood-flow occurs simultaneously with the first cellular changes of cancer and precedes the development of a physically-discernible tumor. This explains the ability of medical thermology to provide the earliest objective indicators, often years prior to structural-based diagnostic imaging, such as X-ray and ultrasound.
Medical thermology does not offer any reliable means to evaluate conditions involving the core (deep internal organs such as the heart, lungs, liver or kidneys) of the body as there is no means of directly affecting the skin’s blood-flow.
How often should I have a Thermography scan?
Once a reliable baseline has been established, which normally requires two studies 3-months apart, you should have an on-going annual comparative study to detect any suspicious functional (physiological) changes, warranting further investigation. Depending on your personal history and risk for breast disease, your doctor can advise how often you should have a thermal scan repeated.
Who should have a Breast thermology screening?
Most women should start annual breast thermology at 20 years of age and can be self-referred.
Every expert agrees earlier detection of breast cancer enables earlier treatment with better results that saves lives. Breast thermology is completely safe (no X-rays No Radiation), often provides the very first objective indication for all of forms breast cancer and has a very high diagnostic sensitivity for women of all ages. Breast cancer is the largest cause of death for women aged 29-45 and, generally, breast cancer takes many years from its inception to the death of its victims. Therefore, most women would benefit by including breast thermology into their annual healthcare by the age of 20. Because the thermology imaging is without any risk of physical harm, women can be self-referred for routine screening. However, our laboratory requires every woman to share the breast thermology report with their professional healthcare provider that is capable of ordering the other indicated diagnostic procedures to complement her study. Breast thermology can also be useful to monitor changes to the specific metabolic and blood vessel features of breast cancer during and after many forms of treatment. However, this monitoring must be done in close coordination with the treatment program as directed by a personal physician.
What can I expect during the imaging process?
Please visit our website at TBTSCANS.com to learn more or call our office at 727-729-2711 for your appointment. A patient history form and pre-appointment instructions are on our website so you may download and print them. Please carefully read these instructions and bring the completed patient history form (including the name and mailing address of your personal physician if applicable) with you to your appointment. Any questions as to the forms you need for your particular imaging please call us and will be happy to assist you.
Your first stop at our office will be the front desk. The completion of your history form will be verified with the Thermographer .The thermology technologist will accompany you into the climate-controlled imaging room and review your history form. The thermology technologist will explain the full details of the imaging process and address your questions. You will be a private imaging room while you undress as instructed and keep your arms away from your body for approximately 10-15 minutes. The imaging will be conducted in our private room where you will be alone during the process.
The Thermology technologist will instruct you through an intercom system to take your thermal images. You will be in private separate room during the entire scan. Once the thermology technologist CTT confirms the quality of your images, you may get fully dressed and leave. The entire process is typically completed in 45-60 minutes from your appointment time. Nothing and nobody touches you, there are no lights, heat or any other forms of energy (non X-ray) directed at you. Our clinic provides the highest standard of professionalism, respects your privacy and guards your confidential information under the HIPAA regulations.
Who interprets these images ?
Your images are interpreted by iNsight MD’s which are Board Certified Medical doctors trained in Medical thermography. The CCT thermographer is not able to give you any immediate results based upon an the impression of your images as the evaluation of your infrared images requires a specific, deliberate and detailed analysis with an objective and quantitative expert system before any conclusions are made.
Is Thermology a benefit of my health insurance?
Probably not. However, your cost is artificially low to make it affordable.
Can Thermology diagnose breast cancer?
Not by itself. No single or even combined imaging tests can diagnose (definition: a medical conclusion) breast cancer. Cancer is diagnosed only by the most specific procedure possible; a detailed evaluation of an actual tissue sample (biopsy). Every form of medical imaging (X-ray mammogram, ultrasound, MRI and thermology) is intended to provide the specific characteristics of a disease (definition: diagnostic) that will indicate the individuals and exact locations that need to be biopsied.
All diagnostic tests are graded by their sensitivity (how well a test correctly identifies the presence of a disease) and specificity (how well a test correctly identifies the absence of a disease). Unfortunately, every means of diagnostic testing is imperfect and some are seriously degraded by patient conditions. Because of the high sensitivity (approximately 97%) and good specificity (approximately 75%) of breast thermology and given the risk level for breast cancer, we contend that every woman needs the combined benefits of several means of diagnostic imaging. Breast thermology is usually able to detect the earliest characteristic signs of breast cancer but is not able to provide the exact location of the abnormal cells with the precision necessary for a biopsy. Thus, a multi-modality program is necessary for the early detection of breast cancer. We contend that thermology is vital to the healthcare of every woman because of its high sensitivity and its complete safety.
Do I need a thermology study even if I have had an X-ray mammogram?
Yes, there is no single means of testing for breast cancer is perfect or even sufficient. X-ray mammography’s sensitivity (how well a test correctly identifies the presence of a disease) is approximately 80% (misses 1 in 5 cancers) at best and has a practical detection threshold of tumors approximately 1 cm (a little less than ½ inch with about 4 million cells). The sensitivity of X-ray mammography is significantly degraded for pre-menopausal women, women with dense or fibrocystic breast tissue, women with implants, surgical reductions or prior biopsies, women with large or small breasts and with fast-growing cancer. X-ray mammography’s specificity (how well a test correctly identified the absence of a disease) is approximately 11% with a large number of false-positive errors. X-ray mammography is a structural study of the breasts that images details based on the differences in the tissues’ absorption of X-ray radiation. Usually this means the identification of clusters of small and irregularly shaped calcium deposits (micro-calcifications). Calcium deposits occur not just as a result of cancer but as a response to many forms of tissue stress. Calcium deposits are easily obscured by competing densities from glandular or scar tissue and some cancer grows too quickly to cause calcium deposits.
Breast thermology is not perfect either but multiple clinical studies have established sensitivity (how well a test correctly identifies the presence of a disease) about 97% (misses about 3 in 100) and a specificity (how well a test correctly identifies the absence of a disease) of approximately 75%. Breast thermology indicates cancer by evaluating the specific levels, patterns and behavior of “Hot Spots” caused by abnormalities of blood-flow. There are very few conditions that can interfere with the sensitivity of breast thermology but its specificity can be compromised by local sources of inflammation or other metabolic abnormalities. Thermology is effective for women with many of the conditions that degrade the effectiveness of X-ray mammography. Because the blood-flow changes characteristic of breast cancer usually occur years in advance of calcium deposits, thermology is able to indicate breast cancer before X-ray mammography. As the only means of objectively evaluating the functional disorders specific to breast cancer, we contend thermology has a vital role in every women’s healthcare for breast cancer. However, abnormal thermology studies require some form of structural study (ultrasound, X-ray mammogram or MRI) to provide the specific site for a biopsy.
If medical thermology is so great, why isn’t it available in every hospital?
Medical thermology is available in a few major university-based medical centers. However, most hospitals have not yet determined how to integrate thermology into their imaging services, are satisfied with their existing imaging services or have not determined any means by which to fund a thermology service. iScanHD has created the “standard of excellence” and has assembled the most advanced technologies and standards to certify canters. TBT in Tampa FL is the first in Florida to meet these standards and become a certified center.
Most medical thermologists are specialists in neurology, surgery, vascular medicine or oncology that practice thermology as an adjunct within their specialty rather than as a discipline itself. There are very few trained and dedicated thermologists, not nearly enough to be available for even the major hospitals. The imaging services of most hospitals are run by radiologists and most radiologists have no useful abilities for thermology as it is based on medical function rather than medical structure. What little knowledge many radiologists have of thermology is outdated and they may be under peer-pressure to disregard thermology as an imaging system outside of their domain. Unfortunately, the current lack of effective national standards for quality and practices for thermology also acts to keep it out of the mainstream of Medicine.
I asked my physician about thermology and was told the procedure was not standardized yet.
Today, iScanHD medical imaging system has created the standard of excellence and TBT is a certified center. Many physicians are uninformed or misinformed about medical thermology. Please ask your physician to read the Physians section of our website or contact our office for a collection of published peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies.
The rise in the incidence of breast cancer during the early 1970’s and the early successes with medical infrared imaging generated a great deal of enthusiasm for it as a diagnostic tool. The early adopters of medical infrared imaging were able to demonstrate impressive sensitivity levels in their preliminary studies even using relatively primitive analog equipment and only a superficial level of empirical knowledge to guide their evaluations. In 1974, the US National Cancer Institute funded a large-scale study on the early detection of breast cancer as a means of reducing mortality and included medical infrared imaging almost as an afterthought and with some very poor planning. Unlike X-ray mammography, there were no specifications or standards for the equipment, technique, evaluation or reporting for medical infrared imaging in this study. In most instances, the investigators evaluating the patient studies had no meaningful training and improper testing protocols before or during the tests. The resulting failure of this study was widely misinterpreted as a failure of diagnostic infrared imaging – an impression that was often promulgated by other imaging specialists with professional and/or proprietary disinterests. The poor results from the Breast Cancer Detection and Demonstration Project effectively dampened the early enthusiasm for medical infrared imaging. However, medical scientists came to understand the fundamental basis for the “Hot Spots” of breast cancer and clinical studies developed an objective analytic system that lead to a major transformation from the empirical practices of Thermography to the level of a proper (albeit young) science of Thermology. Currently, there are more than 800 clinical studies involving more than 300,000 women that are published in peer-reviewed medical journals that validate the claims for early detection, very high sensitivity and good specificity of breast thermology. Unfortunately it is very difficult to get a chance to change a first impression and many physicians hold out-dated opinions without any real knowledge of the transforming developments for medical infrared imaging since the mid 1970’s.
Why should I choose TBT for my thermology?
Because we are the most qualified, most experienced and work to the highest standards of imaging, analysis and reporting.
TBT is a iScanHD certified Imaging center and is the premier source for medical thermology in the world. We earn our reputation for innovation, quality and integrity with every patient study. TBT with the iScanHD certified imaging system is the most experienced and accomplished provider of medical-grade thermology in the world.