Thermography is a medical research method aimed at identifying and localizing various pathogenic processes, accompanied by a local increase (less often - decrease) in temperature. Using this method, it is possible to determine various forms of inflammatory processes, the active growth of neoplasms, varicose veins, injuries, bruises, and fractures. It is an accurate study, based on which you can make the correct diagnosis and determine the localization of the process.
Description of procedure
There are two types of thermography: non-contact and contact, but the essence of both methods is the determination of body temperature in a specific area.
Non-contact thermography is carried out using certain devices, which include thermographs and thermal imagers. These devices record infrared waves and present them as an image. This method allows you to immediately cover the entire body of the patient.
Contact thermography uses liquid crystals that can change color depending on the temperature of the human body. Contact is made using a special layer or film with appropriate connectors. This method is local and more accurate than non-contact thermography.
Despite its relative simplicity, the procedure has a number of features in preparation.
10 days before the study, it is necessary to stop taking all drugs that include hormones, or that affect the cardiovascular system. Exclude any ointments that may affect the test area. When checking abdominal organs, the patient should not eat food (be on an empty stomach).
To study the mammary gland, you need to wait 8-10 (some sources say 6-8, so it’s better to check with a specialist) of the day of the menstrual cycle. In the office where the thermography is done, there should be a constant temperature of 22-23 degrees Celsius. In order for the patient to adapt to it, it must be undressed in the office and given time to get used to within 15-20 minutes. The patient should be in a rested and relaxed state, as this can significantly affect the result.
The procedure can be carried out by a specialist in functional diagnostics, however, the decoding of the results and the establishment of a diagnosis are carried out by a highly specialized doctor.
Not every hospital has equipment for thermography, since this study is not ordinary.
Because of this, this type of examination is carried out in private clinics or some types of dispensaries and costs a decent amount of money. Often, it is impossible to conduct a study immediately after a doctor’s appointment, due to the fact that it is necessary to fulfill some requirements for a fairly long period before the procedure.
Non-contact thermography is done mainly standing or lying down. In this case, the process itself is similar to the procedure of photographing or filming from different angles. Contact thermography is done mainly sitting, by contacting the previously indicated film or layer with the studied area. The image is transmitted to the computer screen and / or recorded on a digital medium for further actions by a specialist.
Thermography results are evaluated and processed electronically. Pathology is noticeable due to a change in the thermal pattern in places with hypothermia (temperature below normal for the site) or hyperthermia (elevated temperature).
Advantages and disadvantages
Among the advantages, it is worth highlighting the absolute safety of the study for both the doctor and the patient, a painless study that does not have contraindications and age restrictions. In addition, the device does not pollute the environment, has a very accurate display of localization (an error of less than a millimeter), and also accurately displays temperature changes (up to 0.008 degrees Celsius) and allows you to examine the entire body in one session.
The disadvantages include the fact that the patient can unfairly fulfill the requirements at the preparation stage, as a result - the results may be incorrect.
A long preparation is also considered a minus, because of which sometimes the consequences may already be irreversible at the time of the examination, high cost in comparison with alternative methods, for example, biopsy, a small number of medical and medical research institutions that conduct this study.
With the increase in the number of breast cancers, new research methods were required, as a result of this - thermography became one of the leading methods for examining the gland because of its advantages, although it has as a requirement that it must be performed on certain days of the menstrual cycle.
Due to the fact that inflammatory processes are accompanied by an increase in temperature, especially at the site of localization, thermography allows you to limit the focus of inflammation. This is especially noticeable when the inflammatory process affects the internal cavity organ or other body cavity, since hyperthermia has clear boundaries in this area.
Any disturbances from the vascular system are also clearly visible in the study. So, with varicose veins, the thickness of their walls decreases, and as a result, heat transfer increases. With ischemia, thrombosis and necrosis due to lack or lack of blood supply, the temperature of the body area and vessel decreases.
This allows you to detect phlebitis in the early stages, and angiography is far from the most useful method for studying pathology, since it negatively affects both the vessels and the negative effect of x-ray radiation.
Changes in the endocrine system, in particular, the thyroid, pancreas and salivary glands. Allows you to determine the development of oncological processes in them, and for the pancreas, its damage, which can be the cause of type 1 diabetes. Disorders from the thyroid gland - can manifest as hypothermia in some parts of the body.
Impaired heat transfer of the skin is associated with spasm or relaxation of the surface capillaries of the skin. It may be a consequence of a violation of the nervous system, or a congenital pathology. In addition to this method, it is impossible to establish an accurate diagnosis in other ways, so thermography in this case is the only way to establish an accurate diagnosis.
Thermography is actively used in traumatology, as it allows you to determine the location of the injury and its type.
Sprains and bruises are characterized by an increase in temperature in a particular area, muscle or muscle group. With closed fractures, you can clearly see the boundaries of the fracture, bone fragments, which are noticeable much better than in x-rays, and safer, since there is no negative external impact.