Thermography for inflammation
Jul 17, 2012 / 5:00 am
Thermography is best known as a screening tool for breast cancer, but has several other applications including detecting inflammation in various areas of the body. In this week’s article we will focus on the use of thermography for identifying and assessing various types of inflammatory joint pain including arthritis.
What is Thermography?
Thermography is an imaging technique that uses infrared cameras to identify heat patterns on the surface of the body. All cells of the body give off a heat. However, inflamed cells and areas of the body undergoing inflammation give off more heat and typically display this heat in an abnormal pattern. The pattern identified by the thermograph can indicate the health of the cells and whether or not future pathology may arise. It can also be used to track the results of treatment for inflammatory conditions.
How Does Thermography Assess Joint Health?
Thermography is designed to identify the distribution of heat on the skin around joints. This heat pattern reflects of the formation of blood vessels in the skin and underlying tissue of a joint. Inflammed cells have unique blood vessel patterns and heat distribution patterns that thermography can identify. An unhealthy pattern can be identified and compared to a healthy joint pattern via thermography and this information can be used to formulate a treatment plan for the affected area.
Are There Side Effects?
Thermography has no known side effects. It does not utilize radiation or involve any pressure on the injured area.
What is the Procedure?
Thermography is a relatively simple and non-invasive screening tool that takes less than one hour to complete. The first 20 minutes of the appointment is designed for the body to acclimatize to the room which is set at 20 degrees celcius. This prevents false positive patterns being identified. During the procedure the patient stands in front of the infrared camera, which scans the body and sends the images to the computer. After the images are taken they are analyzed by the technician and the physician and a report is generated.
A treatment plan can be designed based on the results of the thermography if treatment is advisable. The results of treatment can also be tracked through the use of thermography. For example, if a patient has an inflammatory joint condition like arthritis a repeat thermography assessment can be conducted part way through the treatment process and at the end of treatment to determine the change in heat and blood vessel distribution as a result of treatment.
For more information on inflammatory joint conditions and thermography contact Dr. Barlow at the Kelowna Wellness Clinic at 250-448-5610 or via email at email@example.com
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