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Authors: Prof. Robin Williams and Gigi Williams

Biomedical applications: Obstetrics & Gynecology

Application Notes Reference
Breast lumps Attempted to use infrared photography for the transillumination of the breast but this technique was rejected in favour of normal panchromatic photography. Wilson 1933
Breast lumps Noted that the female breast could be transilluminated and hypothesized that infrared photography would enhance the records produced. Clark 1934
Veins in pregnancy First to apply the infrared technique to superficial veins of normal breasts as compared to pregnant breasts. Concluded that there was an increase in size and conspicuousness of superficial vessels of the breast and abdomen during pregnancy. Claimed it could be used as a pregnancy test. Massopust 1936
Veins in pregnancy Showed the superficial venous patterns in pregnant and non-pregnant women. Based on the work done previously by Massopust. Concluded that this technique was of little use as a pregnancy test. Gorman & Hirsheimer 1939
Veins in pregnancy Infrared photographs of the breast of pregnant vs non-pregnant women. Believed it could be used as a pregnancy test and concluded that a positive result was accurate but a negative result could be inaccurate. Bowes 1950
Breast in pregnancy Briefly described a range of applications for infrared photography such as showing the subcutaneous veins and showed an example of breast in pregnancy revealing the venous pattern. Harrison 1950
Cervix Uteri Recommended that the cervix should be examined by transillumination and that the infrared technique was useful in distinguishing cervical cysts from normal tissue. Thompson 1951
Breast Used electronic flash with wrap-around lighting for the breast and the results distinguished between oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. Abramson & Glazier 1956


  • Abramson, D. & Glazier, R., 1956. "Electronic flash lighting in infrared photography of the female breast," Med. Rad. Photogr. 32 (2):63-65.
  • Bowes K., 1950. "Clinical aspects of infrared photography," Photogr.J. 90B:63-65.
  • Clark, W., 1934. "Infrared photography," J. Biol. Photogr. Ass. 2 (3):119-129.
  • Gorman, W & Hirsheimer, A., 1939. "A study of the superficial venous pattern in pregnant women by infrared photography," Surg. Gynae. Obs. 58:54-62.
  • Harrison, N., 1950. "Revealing the invisible," Functional Phot. 1:10-11.
  • Massopust, L., 1936. "Infrared photographic study of the changing pattern of the superficial veins in a case of human pregnancy," Surg. Gynae. Obs. 63:87-89.
  • Thompson, L., 1951. "Photographs, infrared photographs and transillumination diagrams illustrating diagnosis and treatment of the cervix uteri," Am. J. Surg. 81:503-508.

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Last modified: 3 May 2002