Frequently Asked Questions
Body Scanning Ltd has clinics in Crowborough, Haywards Heath and Maidstone. Here are the questions that you often ask us; however, if you have a particular concern, please do not hesitate to contact us.
How does thermography work?
Basically, an infrared camera measures the infrared waves (heat) emitted by your body and translates it into an electronic image on a computer called a thermogram. A thermogram is a map of your body’s thermal patterns that detects abnormalities and/or inflammation.
Is thermography used in the NHS?
Yes it is, but only for certain investigations. For example. It is used in the Royal Free Hospital, London and Salford University Hospital for assessment and monitoring of Raynaud’s Phenomenon and Scleroderma. In the Institute of Immunity and Transplantation. Queen Elizabeth Hospital for improving patient care for burns patients. The NHS Research Authority uses thermography for infra-red imaging of the surgical wound and for evaluation of pressure ulceration. And last year, a Medical Thermography course in London was approved for CPD (continuing professional development) credits by the London Royal College of Physicians, and was attended by 12 doctors.
What happens at the appointment?
You will need to partially disrobe to “cool down” before having this test. Your thermographer will supply you with a gown to wear. The thermographer will ask you questions on your medical history to send to the doctor, along with your thermogram images.
How long does a thermogram take?
The thermogram takes between 30 minutes to one hour, depending on how much Medical Thermal imaging you require.
What happens after the images are taken?
The digital infrared thermal images are sent to medical doctors specially trained in thermography (Thermologists), who will interpret the images and create a report for you.
How long will it take for me to get the results?
The report will normally come back to you within 72 hours and you receive this by email; or if you prefer, by post (but this will, of course, take longer). Your scan is kept securely on computer. You have the opportunity to discuss your results with the thermographer at a later appointment in the clinic if you want to, or this can be discussed on a phone appointment.
Can I have a thermal scan if I am breastfeeding?
No, the breasts are too active while lactation is occurring, so you will have to wait until 3 months after you have stopped breastfeeding.
Does Private Health Insurance cover Thermography?
Unfortunately thermography is not covered by private health insurance at this time.
Why do I need to come back in 3 months for another breast study?
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 fingerprint, 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 exam. By comparing two studies three months apart the doctors 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. A single study cannot do this.
What can I do to prepare for my appointment?
Preparing for a thermal scan
We want your images to be as accurate as possible. This includes reasons as to why you would not be able to have thermography, which could mean your appointment being rebooked.Before the test please read the following instructions:
- Do not have physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, ultrasound, any electrical treatment or hot/cold packs on upper body for 24 hours before exam.
- Do not smoke prior to the scan.
- No excessive exercise 2 hours before scan.
- Do not use lotions, deodorants, antiperspirants, creams, powders, makeup or hormone creams on the day of the test.
- There are no dietary or medication restrictions on the day of your scan.
- No excessive hot or cold drinks prior to the test.
- Do not take a bath or hot shower immediately prior to the scan.
- No physical stimulation of breasts for 24 hours before screening.
- No shaving or use of other hair removal products.
- Please do not come for a scan if you have any sunburn, because if you are burned you will need to postpone the test. You would need to wait until all of the sunburned area has peeled off.
- Wear loose fitting clothes if possible.
- No surgery (including biopsies) or radiation treatment for 3 months before having a thermal scan.
- If you have had a spray tan done, you will have to wait month after to have a thermography done as spray tans can inflame the skin.
Can a woman under 45 have a breast scan performed?
Of course. This is a really good idea, as mammograms are not usually performed between the ages of 20-49 because the breast tissue is too dense for the mammogram to be efficiently assessed before the menopause; although the age does seem to have been lowered recently.
What is the difference between a thermal scan and mammography or ultrasound?
Unlike mammography ad ultrasound, thermal imaging is a test of physiology – it detects and records 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. Thermography is a non-invasive test. There is no contact with the body of any kind, no radiation and the procedure is painless, The scanning system merely detects and records the infrared radiation that is emitting from the patient’s body.
Mammography and ultrasound are tests of anatomy – they look at structure. When a tumour has grown to a size that is large 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.
Can someone with breast implants have a thermal scan?
Yes. Thermography is very appropriate for patients with implants as there is no compression which can cause damage or rupture to implants. The infrared camera can also see whether an implant is leaking.
I had my breast implants removed 4 weeks ago. When can I have a thermogram?
You need to wait 3 months after surgery.
What can thermography see?
Thermography can see at the physiology of pain, pathology, injury and dysfunction in any area of the body. It does not see structure or anatomy like MRI or XRay. It can also see nerve problems – nerve entrapment, impingement or pressure, nerve root irritation, neuralgia, ruptured disc, temporal arteritis, trigeminal neuralgia, tendonitis, whiplash. And it can check for problems in the future, such as strokes, so people have more options in prevention
Is there any harmful radiation in a thermographic scan?
Thermographic scanning detects and records the infrared heat radiating from the surface of the body. There is no contact with the body or harmful radiation – just like having your picture taken
Can thermography be used on children?
Children, (paediatrics and juveniles) are handled differently than adults for thermal imaging due to findings that are affected by normal developmental changes as well as hormonal changes. Thermal imaging of any child below the age of 14 should only be conducted on referral by the child’s doctor with specific request relating to the clinical concern and symptom of dysfunction.
So although completely safe for children, the results can be misleading because they are growing. It is a perfectly safe screening procedure and it is always carried out with parents present.
Can it be used even though I know what I have got wrong with me?
Yes it can! If you are receiving treatment for your problem, you can monitor the progress of any treatment that you are having for this condition and during rehabilitation. You can have images taken as often as you want, as there is no radiation or side effects involved.
Can thermography be used for sports injuries?
It certainly can and thermograms can be extremely helpful to physiotherapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, osteopaths, and doctors to pinpoint the problem for subsequent treatment and monitoring.
The procedure can detect health issues such as:
- Sports injuries
- Dental disease – even before feeling any pain
- Back, neck, shoulder pain
- Nerve entrapment, impingement, pressure, trauma,
- Ruptured disc
- Stroke Screening
- Detection of deep vein thrombosis
- Evaluating injuries and monitoring the healing process
- Unexplained pain
- Early detection and prevention of various diseases – such as breast disease, strokes, heart attacks.