Infrared Thermography


An FDA-approved, non-radiation, non-contact breast screening

What is Infrared Thermography?

Infrared Thermography uses an FDA-approved medical-grade infrared camera to detect subtle variations of heat radiating from the body’s surface. Its use in cancer prevention and early detection is based on the principle that as a cancerous tumor develops, there is increased circulation and metabolic activity in the area that correlates to a rise in radiant heat, which the infrared camera can detect.

These metabolic changes can be identified well before a noticeable mass develops, even up to 8 years earlier. For example, in the case of Inflammatory Breast Cancer, there are no lumps to be detected by self-exam or Mammography.

Carotid Artery and Thyroid Thermography

Although the majority of thermography scans that we provide are for breast screenings, we also provide carotid artery and thyroid thermography. All three scans are available to both men and women.

Carotid Artery Thermography: “It is widely accepted that stroke is the most common life-threatening and disabling neurologic disease to affect elders in the United States today … The risk of stroke is substantial, often deadly, and for the majority of survivors, disabling … With an ever-increasing elderly population, stroke-related health problems and their impact on quality of life continue to be a major issue for health care providers and the communities they serve.”*

It is actually the third most common cause of death in the developed world due to atherosclerosis primarily. Most individuals who have had a stroke often have high blood pressure often referred to as a silent killer disease as it has vague and/or no symptoms.

Thermography offers a non-invasive, painless, fast, and highly objective way to screen for indicators of atherosclerosis. This is by evaluating the internal carotid artery, the first branch of the carotid artery which feeds the orbits of the eye as well as the sinuses. Ask us for more details about stenosis and thermography’s high sensitivity (detection ability).

Thyroid Thermography: Due to the dense vascularization and location near the surface of the body we are able to evaluate metabolic activity in relation to the thyroid. Oftentimes the common symptoms of weight changes, sensitivity to temperature, hair loss, and many other common symptoms are related to thyroid disorders. These patients often present with vague symptoms of fatigue with no other indicators.

Physicians refer patients for thyroid scans as a means for non-invasive monitoring for many reasons including when sub-clinical (unobservable) symptoms are present.

Thermography can offer monitoring for treatment programs as well as being a non-invasive means of screening cancer from benign cysts.


How is Infrared Breast Thermography Different from Traditional Mammography?

Unlike mammography, infrared thermography is an entirely non-contact and pain-free procedure. There also is no radiation exposure. Mammography uses an X-ray to capture an image that is a shadow of dense structures in the breast. It has an 80% sensitivity, which means it correctly identifies malignant tumors 80% of the time in women older than 50. It has a lower sensitivity in women younger than 50.

Difficulties in reading mammograms can occur in women who are on hormone replacement, nursing, or have fibrocystic, large, dense, or enhanced breasts. These breast differences do not cause complications in reading digital infrared scans. Thermography is designed to be an adjunctive screening and is best used in combination with other screening tools.

It has a 90% sensitivity in women of all ages. Since it detects physiological changes in tissue, a positive infrared image is the highest known risk factor for the existence of a future development of breast cancer. It is important to note that neither mammography nor thermography diagnoses cancer. Only a biopsy can determine if a questionable area is malignant.

Prevention is Key

Breast cancer is a leading concern for all women, and it is even becoming more common among men. As a woman, you have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer at some point in your lifetime. Fortunately, nearly all breast cancers can be successfully treated if they are found early. The five-year survival rate for women whose breast cancer was found and treated in its early stages is nearly 100%. Detecting breast cancer early gives you a lifesaving head start on the road to treatment and optimal health.

Just as unique as a fingerprint, each patient has a particular infrared map of their breasts. Any variation of this infrared map on serial imaging (images taken over months to years) may indicate an early sign of abnormality. Stay proactive and in charge of your health by making infrared thermography a part of your annual routine.

What Can I Expect When I Come in For an Infrared Study?

The Riordan Clinic uses Therma-Scan Reference Lab, the leading provider of infrared thermography analysis and reporting. They are the only scientific lab in North America solely dedicated to medical thermography and have analyzed and written over 1 million studies. In addition, they utilize a rigorous 4-step analytic and reporting process that is unmatched in the industry. As a result, they provide an easy-to-read, comprehensive report that includes the images and key areas of concern.

How the Process Works:

  1. A nurse will review your medical history, explain the imaging process, and will answer any questions.
  2. You will be left alone in a private room, where the temperature is set at about 70 degrees, for 15 minutes. This time will allow any heat from outside to dissipate, and your body’s temperature to come into equilibrium with the room. During this time, you will be bare-skinned from the waist up, with complete privacy behind a curtain.
  3. Once your core temperature has lowered, your nurse will re-enter the room to finish the process. You will then stand comfortably in front of the camera as 3 images are taken from various angles.
  4. You will plunge your hands into a tub of 50° water for 60 seconds for an autonomic challenge.
  5. After removing your hands from the ice bath, you will again stand in front of the camera, and 3 more images will be taken for comparison.

That’s it! The entire process takes approximately 30 minutes. You will receive your personalized and comprehensive report within 3 weeks. A copy of the report can be sent to any healthcare providers that you request. You do not need to be a patient at the Riordan Clinic to schedule a breast thermogram.

What Will My Therma-Scan Report Look Like?

The Therma-Scan report is comprehensive, easy to read and understand, and includes images with clearly identified key areas of concern. Therma-Scan emphasizes quality and innovation from the beginning of the imaging process through the final report. VIEW A SAMPLE REPORT

Example of a healthy breast scan:

Example of a scan that was later confirmed, through a biopsy, to be a malignant tumor:

Breast Cancer Facts:

  • 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer
  • If found early, nearly all breast cancers can be successfully treated
  • The 5-year survival rate of women with breast cancer detected in early stages approaches 100%
  • The 5-year survival rate of women with late-stage breast cancer is approximately 40%
  • Early detection matters!

Advantages of Breast Thermography:

  • Non-invasive (no touching, no compressing, no pulling)
  • Safe – no radiation exposure. (1 rad of radiation increases your cancer risk by 1%. With 10 years of annual mammogram screening, you have a cumulative 10% increased risk)
  • No contrast of any kind is administered
  • Earlier detection – as small as a pinhead

Superior Sensitivity for:

  • Dense breasts (sensitivity on mammograms is reduced by 40% for those with dense breasts)
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Breast reduction
  • Implants
  • Very small breasts
  • Very large breasts
  • Pregnant or Nursing
  • Lumpectomy or mastectomy

Safe for:

  • Surgically augmented breasts
  • Pregnant or lactating
  • Both men and women

Thermography is an Adjunctive Diagnostic Modality that Complements:

  • Physical breast exams
  • Mammography
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


Related Research & Links

*As reported (Influence of Age and Health Behaviors on Stroke Risk: Lessons from Longitudinal Studies:J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010 Oct; 58(Suppl 2): S325–S328)

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