Frequently Asked Questions
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 number of conditions including RSD (CRPS).
Protocols used with the Meditherm system for breast screening do not require routine cold stressing but it may be requested by
a referring physician or reading thermologist.
Q. Who certifies your thermographers?
A. Thermography technicians are trained and certified by the American College of Clinical Thermology. 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. 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 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.
Q. What is the difference between thermography and getting a mammogram? Can I do it instead of a mammogram?
A. The answer to these questions depends on why you have a mammogram. If you are having a mammogram to prevent cancer,
then that is the wrong test. A mammogram can detect a dense object in the breast, but it has never prevented even one
person from getting cancer. Thermography is a different kind of test. It detects the physiological and chemical changes produced
by a developing pathology 5 to 8 years before detection on a mammogram. This makes it more appropriate for preventative screening. A mammogram is more appropriate for detecting mature, late stage pathology. This makes the decision for breast screening preference a personal decision. A mammogram and a thermogram do not replace each other.
Q. Can it tell me if I have cancer?
A. The purpose of thermography is to determine if there are signs of abnormal activity in the body, not to detect cancer.
Sometimes, however, thermography will detect and confirm a developing pathology, but that is not the primary purpose
Q. Can it tell me if I have heart disease?
A. Heart disease is one of the most difficult conditions to detect until its latest stages. Thermography can see the inflammation
and vascular activity that is known to eventually develop into heart or cardio-vascular disease.
Q. Can it detect inflammatory breast cancer (lBC)?
A. Thermography can detect any inflammatory condition. It is the only known test to detect lBC.
Q. Is this new and why haven't I heard of it?
A. Infrared imaging was first used for military applications in WWII. There was an attempt to find an application for medical
testing in the50's. For years it was poorly understood and the technology was underdeveloped. Today, technology has evolved and knowledge of the functioning of the human body has made thermography an extremely valuable tool for early detection of the most serious diseases. This offers the opportunity for prevention, which is not yet commonly recognized by traditional medicine. As prevention becomes more widely accepted, thermography will become more widely used.
Q. How often should I do this?
A. For breast imaging, the best way to utilize thermography is to establish a baseline with 2 exams 90 days apart. After the baseline is established, the interpreting thermologist will make recommendations for follow-up. For most patients, once a year is recommended.
Q. Why do I need to come back in three months for another 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. ls it safe for implants?
A. Since there is no physical contact, implants cannot be damaged. Also, implants do not affect the results.
Q. Does insurance cover it?
A. Not usually. Some insurance companies will reimburse, but most do not. We expect payment at the time of service
and are happy to provide a receipt for your insurance.
Q. I was told that grayscale thermograms were higher resolution than color, why don't you show grayscale?
A. Nowadays there is no difference in resolution between color and grayscale with modern digitized images. When images were
viewed on an old TV screen, it took three phosphors on the cathode ray tube to make one color dot….. it only takes one phosphor to make a shade of grey, the resolution in black and white therefore, would be three times greater than it was in color.
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.