Introduction to Scalp Cooling
Even though it has been used successfully in Europe and other countries for decades, scalp cooling is a relatively new option to reduce chemotherapy-induced hair loss in the United States, and only just beginning to be covered by public and private insurance.
Manual cold caps have been in very limited use in the US for the past ten years, however, it wasn’t until December 8, 2015 that a scalp cooling device was actually granted Clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Cooling the scalp during chemotherapy is thought to prevent hair loss by affecting two cellular processes: (1) Blood flow to hair follicle cells is reduced, therefore exposing them to less chemotherapy medications, and (2) the rate of cellular metabolism is slowed, thereby reducing the effect of whatever chemo medication is present.
If you are interested in scalp cooling clinical research studies click here.
Scalp Cooling Treatment Options
There are two basic approaches to scalp cooling: Manual Cooling Systems and Automated Cooling Systems. Manual caps must be swapped out periodically throughout treatment and require a source of refrigeration to keep replacement caps cold during the infusion process – usually dry ice in a cooler, though some infusion centers make dedicated freezers available to patients. The Rapunzel Project has been instrumental in installing freezers for manual caps in many infusion centers across the country. Automated Systems include self-contained refrigeration units that continuously cool the cap during treatment, eliminating the need for multiple cap changes and for access to freezers or dry ice.
Manual Cooling Systems
Cold Caps replaced periodically throughout treatment. Spare caps kept refrigerated or dry-ice.
Patients must take responsibility for obtaining caps and cooling resource and for administering treatment.
Penguin Cold Caps
Automatic Cooling Systems
Single cap application, coolant is continuously circulated and regulated.
Medical centers can offer the treatment directly to patients and oversee the treatment process.
Diginicap (FDA Cleared)
Paxman (FDA Cleared)