Questions on Breast Screening and Thermal Imaging

Is Digital Infrared Imaging (breast thermography) safe?

The procedure uses no radiation or intravenous injection; therefore, DII pos es absolutely no health risk to the patient. Since there is no contact with the body, the procedure is also completely painless.

Is Digital Infrared Imaging costly?

No, DII of the breast is very reasonable considering the sophistication of the technology involved. However, costs do vary depending upon the location of the imaging lab and if special studies need to be performed.  Our prices includes consultation, imaging, a written report, and a copy of the report sent to your doctor, if requested.

Will my insurance cover the test?

This all depends on your individual insurance coverage; in most cases no. Nevertheless, some companies cover the procedure while others do not. Our policy is to receive payment at the time of service while providing you with all of the paperwork necessary for you to submit the bill to your insurance company for reimbursement, if applicable.

Is Digital Infrared Imaging an approved procedure?

Yes, in 1982 DII was approved by the FDA in the USA for use as an adjunctive breast cancer screening procedure. DITI in the world is taking off with enthusiasm, in time we hope to see it generally accepted.

Does Digital Infrared Imaging replace mammograms?

Absolutely not! However, do mammograms replace DITI? The answer to this is also a resounding no; the two tests complement each other. (1ci)

I have heard that there is a new and better type of thermography, is this true?

There are always new health care technologies on the horizon; many turn out to be helpful while some are detrimental. We as clinical thermographers are always watching for ways to improve patient care through this technology. Unfortunately, there are emerging thermal imaging procedures that cause concern among professionals in this field. Some of these “new” types of thermography are just a renaming of what we currently do, or worse, resurrections of limited outdated technology. A few new thermal imaging technologies cause us concern due to their aggressive marketing of unproven procedures and, in some instances, omitting important diagnostic surface areas of the body from the images. Please be careful regarding these “new” thermal imaging procedures. (1cii)

What other centers perform Digital Infrared Imaging?

Because of the special training, technical expertise, and unique clinical environmental needs necessary to perform DITI, many centers do not have this technology as of yet. Currently, independent digital infrared imaging centers and highly specialized independent breast clinics are the most common place to find this technology.

Can you provide my organization with a speaker?

Yes, we certainly can. Simply contact us with a description of your organization (university, women’s group, service club, etc.), and its location, and we would be glad to reply. Since we are frequently asked to speak on this important issue, please give us ample notice before the lecture in order for us to provide a speaker for you.

How can I find a Digital Infrared Imaging lab in my area?

Atlantis Franchise Centres are opening up throughout the world over the coming years, and we hope a facility is available in your area soon.

Why haven’t I heard of Digital Infrared Imaging before?

Due to a poorly constructed and performed (with regards to Breast Thermography) research study back in the 1970’s, DII was placed in a “further study needed” and “no improvement over mammography” category. Along with this study, health care politics and insurance cost-containment issues caused interest in this technology to be put on hold. (1ciii)

I mentioned Digital Infrared Imaging to my doctor and was told that the procedure is outdated and useless, is this true?

Unfortunately, many physicians either do not know about this technology or are knowledgeable about a single poorly performed (with regards to DII) research study; the BCDDP (Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Projects). The BCDDP was a large study done in the 1970’s that collected data from many centers around the United States. Three methods of breast cancer detection were studied: physical examination, mammography, and thermography.

With regards to thermography, the BCDDP was seriously flawed in four critical areas:

Completely untrained technicians were used to perform the scans.
The study used radiologists who had no experience or knowledge in reading infrared images.
No standardized reading protocol had yet been established for infrared imaging.
Proper laboratory environmental controls were completely ignored. In fact, many of the research sites were mobile trailers with extreme variations in internal temperatures.
Of considerable concern was the reading of the images. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s that established and standardized reading protocols were introduced. Considering these facts, the BCDDP could not have properly evaluated infrared imaging. (1civ)

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