Medical thermography is a technique for the measurement and display of the distribution of body surface temperature. The principal method used in determining skin temperature is infra-red (IR) sensing.
The report reviews the literature on the technology and its applications in various areas including neuromuscular, rheumatological and vascular problems.
Although it is widely used, the role of thermography has yet to be established and there are conflicting opinions in the literature on its efficacy.
There appears to be an absence of rigorous trials to establish the efficacy of thermography, and a lack of data on its effect on patient management and on its cost effectiveness.
The potential range of applications is wide and the costs of thermography to the health care system could be substantial. Evidence of corresponding benefits appears to be lacking.
More research is required to establish if it has a clinical role in the Australian health care system.