Frequently Asked Questions
DITI (or digital infrared thermal imaging/thermography) is an imaging technique for measuring and displaying body temperature. It is a key diagnostic tool in the detection of breast disease, injury and infection. There is a high degree of thermal symmetry in a normal healthy body. Subtle abnormal thermal asymmetries can be easily identified that may be attributed to pathology or dysfunction. DITI relies on the principle that all objects at a temperature above absolute zero radiate infrared energy. The amount of radiation emitted is a function of the body’s physiology. Our DITI camera captures and records this energy and converts it to a digital image called a thermogram that is saved for analysis and archiving.
No. We see patients who are self referred or referred from their doctor.
Preparing for your thermography breast exam is simple yet crucial to the accuracy of the results. For thermography results to be accurate, do not have any physical therapy, massage, electromyography or chiropractic work the same day as your appointment. Do not consume any caffeine 3 hours before your appointment. Do not smoke or participate in vigorous exercise 2 hours before your appointment. Do not use any lotions, ointments or creams the day of your scan, including perfume and cologne. Avoid strong sunlight exposure the day of your appointment and do not have an existing sunburn. All jewelry will be removed for scans. Long hair should be worn up. A detailed preparation list will be emailed to you prior to your appointment.
The longest part is filling out the paper work and going over the medical history with the thermographer! The thermography scan itself usually takes 10-20 minutes depending on how many regions are being imaged.
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 blueprint, 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 scan. 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, and is critical to early breast cancer detection, and breast disease detection. Your initial thermography scan is only being compared to what a normal body’s thermal symmetries should be. Your annual scan is being compared to what a normal body’s thermal symmetries should be, your past scans, and your accurately establish baseline created by your 3 month follow up. In simpler terms, this is to make sure there are no rapid changes even if there wasn’t anything of concern in your initial scan. If there are no rapid changes then your stable baseline has been established and we will see you in a year!
Yes. Unlike mammography and ultrasound, thermography (DITI) is a test of physiology. It detects the infrared heat radiating from the surface of the body. It can help in early detection and monitoring of abnormal physiology and the establishment of risk factors for the development or existence of cancer. Mammography and ultrasound are tests of anatomy. They look at structure. When a tumor, such as a breast cancer lump, grows to a size that is big enough, and dense enough, to block an x-ray beam (mammography) or sound wave (ultrasound), it produces an image that can be detected by a trained radiologist. A mammogram, ultrasound or thermography(thermogram) can not diagnose cancer. This can only be done by biopsy. When thermography, structural tests and clinical exam are used together, the best evaluation of breast health can be made. Is thermal imaging a replacement for mammography and ultrasound? Thermograms should be viewed as a complementary, not competitive, tool to mammogram screenings and ultrasound. Thermography has the ability to identify patients at the highest level of risk and actually increase the effective usage of structural tests. Research confirms that thermography, when used with structural tests, can improve the sensitivity of breast cancer detection. The ultimate choice should be made on an individual basis with regard to clinical history, personal circumstances and medical advice.
Thermography should be viewed as a complimentary, not competitive, tool to mammography and ultrasound. Thermography has the ability to identify patients at the highest level of risk and actually increase the effective usage of structural tests. Research confirms that thermography, when used with structural tests, can improve the sensitivity of breast cancer detection. The ultimate choice should be made on an individual basis with regard to clinical history, personal circumstances and medical advice.
Yes! The information provided by a thermography study can contribute useful additional information which ultimately helps your doctor with case management decisions. It is also instrumental in the progress of any treatment protocol.
The thermographer is certified from the American College of Clinical Thermology at Duke University. The American College of Clinical Thermology is an accredited medical association.
Images are sent to an interpretation service that employs medical doctors who are all board certified Thermologists certified by The American College of Clinical Thermology at Duke University. These doctors have many years of experience and are able to ask for second opinions when necessary.
Reports are normally ready in 3-5 days and emailed to you, password protected. They can also be mailed to your physician(s). Your results can be back in a 24 hour period for an extra fee of $50.
In most cases, thermography is not covered by insurance. Many FSA & HSA plans do cover it. A superbill can be given to the patient if they would like to submit it to their insurance.