Analysis and Application of Thermography in Medical Diagnosis

  • T. J. Love


Thermography is the term used to describe the technique of mapping skin temperature patterns and the interpretation of that information to assess physiologic status. The temperature map is typically obtained with a scanning infrared radiometer; a CRT typically provides a visual image of the map. Temperature levels may be displayed by various shades of grey or by colors representing discrete temperature levels. Photographs of the displayed image provide a record of the temperature patterns. Liquid crystals applied directly to the skin or encapsulated in sheets of plastic have also been used to portray skin temperature. Skin temperature maps have been used in a wide range of medical applications. These applications include, but are not limited to, breast cancer detection, assessment of peripheral vascular disease, soft tissue trauma, infection, rheumatology, detection of thyroid cancer, viability of skin flaps, monitoring densitized tissues, diagnosis of occlusive disease of the carotid artery, and diagnosis and treatment-monitoring in headache. Applications will be treated in detail later in this chapter.


Skin Temperature Blood Perfusion Superficial Vein Fibrocystic Disease Soft Tissue Trauma 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Haberman, J. D., Image Analyses of Medical Thermograms, Critical Reviews in Radiological Sciences, vol. 2, ( Chemical Rubber Publishing Company, Cleveland 1971 ).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Moscowitz, M., Milbrath, J., Gartside, P., Zermino, A., and Mandel, D., The lack of efficacy of thermography as a screening tool for minimal and stage I breast cancer, N. Eng. J. Med. 295, 219–252, 1976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lawson, R. N., and Chughtai, M. B., Breast cancer and body temperature, Can. Med. Assoc. J. 88, 68–70, 1963.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Draper, J. W., and Boag, J. W., The calculation of skin temperature distribution in thermography, Phys. Med. Biol. 16, 2, 201–211, 1971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Draper, J. W., and Boag, J. W., Skin temperature distributions over veins and tumors, Phys. Med. Biol. 16, 4, 645–654, 1971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gautherie, M., Bourjat, P., Quenneville, Y., and Gros, C., Heat production capacity in breast epitheliomas, Rev. Europ. Etudes Clin. Biol. 17, 776, 1972.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Barnes, R. B., Thermography of the human body, Science 240, 1963, 870.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lelik, F., Kezy, G., and Solymossy, O., The diagnosis of locomotive disorders of domestic animals by contact thermography, ACTA Thermographica 2 (1), 13, 1977.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Pochaczevsky, R., and Meyers, P., The value of vacuum-contoured, liquid crystal, dynamic breast thermoangiography, Acta Therm. 4 (1), 8–16, 1979.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Watton, R., Harper, B., and Burgess, D., Infrared T.V.: An inexpensive portable pyroelectric camera, Infrared Physics, vol. 16 ( Pergamon, New York 1976 ) pp. 81–85.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Haberman, J. D., Phase II final report: mass screening for breast cancer by automatic infrared pattern recognition, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, NCI contract number N01-CB-43869, 1980.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Anliker, M., and Friedli, P., Evaluation of high-resolution thermograms by on-line digital mapping and color coding, Appl. Rad. Nucl. Med. 5 (3), 114–115, May/June 1976.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Steketee, J., Spectral emissivity of skin and pericardium, Phys. Med. Biol. 18 (5), 686–694, 1973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Watmough, D., and Oliver, R., Some physical factors relevant to infrared thermography, Phys. Med. Biol. 15 (1), 178, 1970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hardy, J. D., The radiating power of human skin in the infrared, Am. J. Physiol. 127, 454, 1939.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Martin, C. J., and Watmough, D., Thermal scanning of curved surfaces, Acta Thermo. 2 (18), 1977.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Love, T. J., and Haberman, J. D., Heat transfer in medical thermography, Therm. Quarterly, 11(1), spring 1977.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lilienfeld, A., Barnes, J., Brasfield, R., Connell, J., Diamond, E., Gershon-Cohen, J., Haberman, J., Isard, H., Lane, W., Lattes, R., Miller, J., Seamon, W., and Sherman, R., An evaluation of thermography in the detection of breast cancer, Cancer 24, 1206, 1969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Haberman, J., Love, T., and Francis, J., Screening a rural population for breast cancer using thermography and physical examination techniques: Methods and results, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 335, 492–500, 1980.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Cooke, E. D., Thermography diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis, Acta Therm. Suppl. 1, 7, 55, 1978.ADSGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ring, E. F. G., A thermographie index for the assessment of ischemia, Acta Therm. 5 (1), 1980.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Karpman, H., Knebel, A., Semel, C., and Cooper, J., Clinical studies in thermography application of thermography in evaluating musculoligamentous injuries of the spine, Arch. Environ. Health 20, 112, 1970.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Connell, J., Morgan, E., and Rousselot, L., Thermography in trauma, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 121, 171, 1964.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Buwalda, G., Possible applications of thermography in abdominal conditions, Bibl. Radiol. 5, 198–200, 1969.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Farrell, C., and O’Hara, A. E., The use of thermography in the pediatric patient, Clin. Pediatr. (Philadelphia) 11, 673, 1973.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Sandrow, R., Torg, J., Lapayowker, M., and Resnick, E., The use of thermography in the early diagnosis of neuropathie arthropathy in the feet of diabetics, Clin. Orthop. 88, 31, 1972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Verhonick, P., Lewis, D., and Goller, H., Thermography in the study of decubitus ulcers, Nurs. Res. 21 (3), 233, 1972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Cosh, J., Collins, A., and Ring, E., Infrared radiometry and thermography: Their applications in rheumatology, Proc. Roy. Soc. Med. 65, 890, 1972.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ring, E. F., Thermography and rheumatic diseases, Bibl. Radiol. (6), 97–106, 1975.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Zysno, E. A., and Rusch, D., Thermographie methods in rheumatology, Verh. Dtsch. Ges. Rheumatol. 2 suppl., 2, 231, 1972.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Bloomenstein, R. B., Viability prediction in pedicle flaps by infrared thermography, Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 52 185, 1975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Watson, A. C., and Vasilescu, C., Thermography in plastic surgery, J.R. Coll. Surg. (Edinburgh) 17, 247, 1972.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Planiol, T., Floyrac, G., and DeMeyer, J., Thermography in malignant thyroid nodules, Acta Therm. 1 (3), 126–137, 1976.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Samuels, B. I., Thermography: A valuable tool in detection of thyroid disease, Radiology 102, 59, 1972.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Goin, J., Love, T., and Haberman, J., Absolute temperature thermography: Observations of skin temperature variations of the human breast, ASME paper no. 79 WA/HT-70, 1979.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Francis, J., Roggli, R., Love, T., and Robinson, C., Thermography as a means of blood perfusion measurement, Trans. ASME, J. Biomech. Eng. 101 (4), 246, 1979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. J. Love
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Aerospace, Mechanical, and Nuclear EngineeringUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

Personalised recommendations