How is Breast Thermography Performed?
Your visit with us is a thorough process. It begins with simple preparation steps that must be strictly followed before you arrive (Pre-Examination Instructions). Once in the office, you will be asked to complete a breast health history form. You will then meet with our experienced staff to go over the procedure. We begin with a visual inspection of the surface of the breasts. This is a standard procedure that correlates any surface findings with the infrared images. Once this is done, you will be left for 15 minutes in order for your body to reach a steady temperature state in equilibrium with the special temperature conditions of the room. After this brief waiting time, you will be positioned in front of the imaging system so that the surfaces of the breasts, upper chest, and under arms are imaged.
The images are captured in real-time from an ultra-sensitive medical infrared imaging camera and sent to a sophisticated computer for storage and analysis (the images are kept on archival media for precision comparison of future images so that the breasts can be monitored over time). Sophisticated computer programs allow the doctor to isolate temperature differentials, perform vascular analyses, dynamic thermal subtraction studies, and more.
Once the images are taken, our on-site Board Certified Clinical Thermologist will digitally process and grade the images. You have, as an option, the ability to meet with the thermologist to review the results of your thermogram immediately after your visit. Since a consultation time must be set aside at an additional fee, please arrange this prior to your exam time. Most patients opt to wait for their written report, which is mailed to you within two weeks.
After the images have been analyzed, they are graded using a strict standardized reading protocol. Each breast’s image is placed into one of five thermobiological (TH) categories:
TH 1 Normal uniform non-vascular
TH 2 Normal uniform vascular
TH 3 Equivocal (questionable)
TH 4 Abnormal
TH 5 Severely abnormal
Depending upon the results of the exam, further tests may be ordered and/or future infrared scans performed at recommended intervals to monitor the breasts.