J Rehabil Res Dev 1996 (Oct); 33 (4): 377–386
Sherman RA, Woerman AL, Karstetter KW
US Army, Department of Clinical Investigation,
Madigan Army Medical Center,
Tacoma, WA 98431-5001, USA
Videothermography (Video TRM), infrared beam thermography (IRTHRM), and contact thermography (Contact TRM) are utilized to detect asymmetries in temperatures between paired limbs. This information is controversially used in many diagnostic procedures in rehabilitation medicine. In this study, the effectiveness of the above techniques for scanning skin heat patterns and detecting asymmetries is compared. The skin over both lower limbs was imaged with each technique sequentially on 139 male and 15 female patients reporting lower limb pain.
Images were also made of an electronic heat producer in order to determine relative accuracy. Contact TRM was unable to accurately image many areas with curved surfaces and was unable to produce accurate recordings when several sensors with differing temperature ranges had to be used on the same subject. It was also relatively inaccurate when imaging the heat producer. Video TRM was easy to use and produced excellent recordings but was difficult to transport. IRTHRM used in conjunction with a grid map of the body was the simplest and least expensive system to use for scanning and was as accurate as Video TRM.