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Neurology. 1991 Jul;41(7):1010-4.

Utility of thermography in the diagnosis of lumbosacral radiculopathy.

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Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905.


We performed infrared telethermography in 55 patients with the clinical diagnosis of lumbosacral radiculopathy and in 37 normal controls. Five readers interpreted the thermograms in a blinded fashion. A moderate degree of agreement was noted in tests of intraobserver and interobserver variability. The sensitivity of thermography ranged from 78% to 94% compared with 81% to 92% for imaging studies and 77% for EMG. The specificity of thermography ranged from 20% to 44%. Thermography predicted the level of the radiculopathy correctly in less than 50% of cases. Thermography has little or no utility in the diagnosis of lumbosacral radiculopathy.

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