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This graph outlines the differences between mammography, medical infrared imaging (thermography), and ultrasound. Medical infrared imaging detects surface heat as a byproduct of biochemical reactions. As such, the test adds valuable physiologic information that cannot be obtained from any other imaging procedure. Thermography is designed to be used as an adjunct (an additional test) to a woman's regular breast health care. (click here to display the chart)
Is Thermography (digital infrared imaging) safe?
Yes it is safe. Thermography is an imaging procedure that uses no radiation, injections, or other invasive methods.
Is Thermography (digital infrared imaging) approved by the FDA?
Yes it was approved in 1982 by the FDA as a breast imaging procedure that is to be used in addition to other imaging tests and/or examination procedures.
Does insurance cover Thermography?
At this time insurance nor Medicare is not covered for thermography. Full payment for imaging is required at time of your appointment.
How often and what age is recommended for breast thermography?
* Baseline thermogram at age 20
* 20-30 years of age - every 3 years
* 30 years of age and over - every year
Who benefits from infrared imaging (Thermography)?
Everyone! Especially health conscious individuals who are looking for an important tool to add to their regular preventive health care. Infrared imaging may also give your doctor the information he or she needs to get to the cause of a current problem. By notifying you of a current problem that is going undetected, or possibly providing an early warning, infrared imaging may be able to help you with health problems that rob you from enjoying life.
What makes thermography (digital infrared imaging) different from other scans I’ve heard of?
The greatest difference lies in the type of information you get from the two tests. For example, CT or MRI looks into the body for tumors, blocked arteries and other structural changes. If no tumor or blocked arteries are found, does this mean you’re in good health? Some of the health problems that slowly evolve and rob you of your quality of life cannot be detected by structural imaging.
Thermography is a functional imaging technology. The procedure detects altered heat patterns emanating from the surface of the body as the result of disturbed neurochemical feedback signals. This allows us to look at how the body is functioning. With this information in hand your doctor may be able to get to the cause of a chronic problem or warn you in advance of symptoms that one or more problems may be developing. This information may give you the time you need to take action to stop the process or head off the possibility of significant damage to the body.
Can infrared imaging be used to search for metastasis?
No! Infrared imaging cannot be used as a "body scan" to look inside the body for the spread of cancer (metastasis). It is important to note that although infrared imaging plays a very important role as an adjunctive risk assessment examination in breast imaging, the procedure cannot be used to search for metastasis. If you are concerned with the possibility of metastasis, please see your doctor for appropriate testing and imaging.
Is thermography an alternative to an MRI or CT scan?
Absolutely not! The technologies are completely different. MRI and CT are structural imaging procedures. Infrared imaging is an adjunctive functional imaging procedure that does not look inside the body. Infrared imaging does not replace any other form of imaging, but is designed to be used in addition to other tests to provide physiological information that cannot be obtained from other examination procedures. Thermography, MRI, CT and other imaging procedures are complementary tests.
I have seen websites that say that thermography can detect problems with the stomach, colon, heart, immune system, female reproductive organs, prostate, and other internal organs.
Some of this is true, but very misleading. What is deceptive is that these websites are leading patients to think that thermography can replace other imaging procedures and tests as an early warning (screening). They are also promoting thermography as being able to provide an early warning of all internal disorders equally. None of this is true.
Thermography cannot see into the cranial vault, thoracic cavity, abdomen, or pelvic areas. However, if an internal organ is stressed enough it may send a neural reflex message to the surface of the body creating an infrared marker. This is known as a viscerosomatic or viscerocutaneous reflex. The problem is that by the time an internal organ is sending this signal, and it does depend on which organ, there is usually a fair level of pathology. Most patients are also experiencing symptoms. In some cases thermography may be able to warn patients that something might be wrong and going undetected, but the technology is not sensitive enough to replace other imaging procedures and tests that are better equipped to provide screening.
Why is it important to return for regular thermograms?
1.) EARLY SIGNS THAT A BREAST CANCER MAY BE DEVELOPING
Angiogenesis, or new blood vessel formation, is necessary to sustain the growth of a tumor. Breast thermography may be the first signal that such a possibility is developing.
2.) INDIVIDUALIZED BREAST CANCER RISK ASSESSMENT
Women with a family history are definitely at greater risk for breast cancer, but 75% of women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease. Regardless of your family history, if a thermogram is abnormal you run a future risk of breast cancer that is 10 times higher than a first order family history of the disease. If discovered, certain thermographic risk markers may warn a woman that she needs to work closely with her doctor with regular checkups to monitor her breast health.
3.) A POSSIBLE ROLE IN BREAST CANCER PREVENTION
Since an important risk factor for the development of breast cancer may be an imbalance of hormones in the breast, normalizing the balance of the hormones may be a significant step in prevention. Certain thermographic signs may suggest the effects of hormones in the breasts. This may be the first marker that alerts your doctor to this possibility. Your doctor will first need to run further tests to confirm this. If these tests are positive, your doctor may use these tests to monitor your care.
4.) IMAGING FOR YOUNGER WOMEN
Current studies indicate that 15% of all breast cancers occur in women under 49. This is the most common cancer in women in this age group. Breast cancers in younger women are usually more aggressive and have poorer survival rates. Breast thermography offers younger women a valuable imaging tool that they can add to their regular breast health check-ups beginning with baseline imaging at age 20.
What can Thermography be used for?
Breast Imaging – Risk Assessment Tool
· Doctors look for warm blood vessels which appear different than the norm.
· The doctors look for a “fever” in the breasts which may signal a problem.
· Identifies women at higher risk based upon their own body rather than general statistics.
· Can be used to monitor women more frequently than other tests with no adverse effects.
· Can be used on younger women who currently have no screening protocol.
· Can be used on women with implants, reductions, and benign breast disease without effecting sensitivity.
· Provides information on how the body is functioning, which may alert the patient and their doctor to a possible health problem or a stress on the body that may lead to a problem.
· May help to guide a health care provider in evaluating a problem.
· When no health problem exists, a thermal problem may signal an early warning about a system or area that may be helped through lifestyle management.
· Especially helpful for:
-musculoskeletal problems -neurological problems
-vascular problems -metabolic conditions
-adjunctive breast health risk assessment tool
Who interprets the infrared images?
Our thermograms are interpreted by Dr. William C. Amalu, DC, DABCT, DIACT, FIACT. Dr. Amalu is a highly qualified board certified thermologist with over 25 years of experience. As a board member of the International Academy of Clinical Thermology, Dr. Amalu instructs physicians worldwide in the science and interpretation of thermal imaging. He also lectures worldwide in both university and public venues to increase awareness and utilization of this lifesaving procedure. Dr. Amalu has the utmost integrity, takes great pride and care in the interpretation of all infrared images submitted. Following are his credentials:
Board Certified Clinical Thermologist
Diplomate in Clinical Thermography
Clinical Thermology Fellow
American Board of Clinical Thermography
American Board of Medical Infrared Imaging
International Academy of Clinical Thermology
Dr. Amalu has also undergone extensive post-graduate clinical training in infrared breast imaging interpretation under the guidance of one of the world's leading authorities in breast thermography, William Hobbins, MD.
Executive Board Officer
2016 International Academy of Clinical Thermology
2016 International Thermographic Society
2016 Medical Director - International Association of Certified Thermographers
Thermographic Guidelines Committee Member and Co-Author
International Academy of Clinical Thermology - "Quality Assurance Guidelines - Standards and Protocols in Clinical Thermographic Imaging"
American Academy of Thermology - "Breast Thermography Guidelines"
Post-Graduate Education Instructor
International Academy of Clinical Thermology
International Thermographic Society
International Academy of Clinical Thermology
IEEE - Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
International Association of Certified Thermographers
American Academy of Thermology