The Lowdown On Thermography
Thermography has existed for hundreds of years, however it was first used in a clinical context in the 1940’s. Thermographs are advanced infrared cameras that can diagnose some medical problems. They can identify cold and hot areas of the body, then alert doctors to certain areas of restricted circulation, or heightened blood flow.
This is a non invasive test, and — in contrast to other tests that use images, like xrays — they do not emit radiation. This means that they are usually safe diagnostic tools and can be repeatedly used, without producing negative side effects. As a result, a patient can have a thermogram as frequently as required, without any risk to their health. Furthermore, no medical equipment needs to come into contact with the body while a thermogram is carried out, and the procedure causes no physical discomfort or pain.
Lots of medical problems can be detected early, sometimes even before symptoms appear, with the help of a thermograph. More specifically, it can identify several conditions that are proven to release heat inside the body’s internal structures. Some digestive conditions, respiratory problems and pain disorders are regularly found, and then tracked, using this device. In addition, thermographs are often used in clinical evaluations and medication trials, to assess a patient’s reaction to different treatments.
With the images from thermograms, colors are utilized to depict hotter and colder areas. Some devices generate black and white images, with the colder areas displayed as black and the warmer areas displayed as white. Other devices generate images in numerous colors. With these kinds of devices, orange and red indicate that the area is hotter, while blue, violet and black highlight the colder areas. To display a medium temperature area, yellow and green are utilized.
Another common use for thermographs is to detect breast cancer. Typically, metastatic cancer generates warmth, so once a patient has their breasts compared with one another using the diagnostic camera, irregular temperature patterns can make tumors simple to find. Also, it works better after a surgical tumor is removed, so doctors might perform the test to track the healing process.
Breast thermograms vary in cost from one medical center to the next. On average, they cost between $150 and $200. The cost of this procedure is not covered by Medicare. Certain private health insurance policies may cover all or some of this cost though. It is worth bearing in mind that mammograms are still the best early detection method for breast cancer. While mammograms expose patients to small quantities of radiation, the risk of this is outweighed by the advantages of locating the cancer.
As well as medical applications — like detecting blood vessel diseases, injuries to soft tissue and cancer — thermogram technology is used in various science and research fields. For instance, energy auditors might use it to evaluate building insulation. In a more interesting application, thermogram devices might be utilized to help researchers look for life forms on nearby planets, and explore the environment there.