Normal vs. Abnormal Breast Thermograms

The infrared breast images to the right depict a very normal thermogram. Vascular findings in the breasts are nearly lacking and there are no hyperthermic areas. This is not typical of the average woman and represents about 5% of the population.

very normal breast thermogram

This image is more representative of an average thermogram demonstrating vessels in the upper breasts that extend toward the areolae. There is a slight hyperthermic area in the outer right breast that was not correlated with palpatory findings. A repeat study at 6 months demonstrated the pattern was stable and there was no increase in the hyperthermic area of the right breast.

normal breast thermogram

The thermogram to the right demonstrates more vascularity than the above thermograms. In this case, the vascular pattern is still consistent with a normal pattern and the vessels do not have an abnormally high degree of blood flow. Because this was a baseline study, the patient will return in 6 months to verify that the pattern and the amount of blood flow is unchanged. The thermovascular pattern on a breast thermogram is like a fingerprint of the breast and should not change over time. If change is demonstrated, it is likely that a neovascular phenomenon is occurring and additional testing is warranted to gather additional diagnostic information.

vascular breast thermogram

This is an abnormal thermogram demonstrating a highly aggressive malignancy in the left upper breast. There is a large, hyperthermic area associated with the tumor as well as increased vasculature. With thermography, the greater the degree of abnormality the greater the aggressiveness of the cancer and the worse the prognosis.

breast cancer with thermography
This thermogram demonstrates a hyperthermic left areola that was associated with a small mass. Biopsy confirmed an invasive intraductal carcinoma. Breast palpation should always be performed at the time of a thermogram in attempt to correlate palpatory findings with the findings on infrared. This correlation can alter the overall assessment when a mass is correlated with what would otherwise appear to be a normal finding on the thermogram. This is especially true with baseline studies in which comparisons cannot be made to previous imaging. thermographic breast cancer
On this study the entire right breast is hyperthermic as compared to the left. There is also a slightly irregular vascular pattern medial to the right nipple where biopsy confirmed a malignancy. Global temperature increase in a single breast is highly suspicious and care must be exercised to rule out malignancy. breast cancer
This thermogram demonstrates an invasive intraductal carcinoma deep to the outer right areola. The entire area is hyperthermic and there is a distorted vascular pattern associated with the malignancy. invasive intraductal carcinoma
This thermogram shows a global increase in temperature of the right breast as well as distinct, hyperthermic vessels in the outer breast. There was and invasive malignancy discovered in the outer right breast. abnormal breast thermogram