Scalp Cooling

One of the side effects of chemotherapy with active substances that inhibit cell division (cytostatics) is severe hair loss. This side effect, which is particularly stressful for women, can at least be reduced with a very simple measure: If the scalp is strongly cooled down before, during and after a chemotherapy session, the blood circulation is reduced and the metabolism of the growing hair follicles is slowed down. Follicles become less sensitive to the cytostatic agents used and less pronounced hair loss occurs in the following weeks.

Scalp Cooling Reduces Chemotherapy-induced Hair Loss

Scalp Cooling Reduces Chemotherapy-induced Hair Loss

A recent review article, which evaluates several studies on the subject of scalp cooling, concludes that the risk of hair loss is reduced by about 50 percent on average: During chemotherapy, which usually leads to very pronounced hair loss in almost 100 percent of patients, Scalp Cooling achieves aesthetically acceptable (and in about 5 percent of cases completely unaffected) hair on the head in about half of the patients, so that no wigs or headgear need be worn. [49][50] The procedure has been particularly well studied in breast cancer patients. However, this by no means excludes the possibility that cooling the scalp can also reduce the risk of hair loss in other types of cancer.

Implementation

Scalp Cooling is performed with the help of a gel-filled cooling cap, which cools the scalp down to 15 to 21 degrees. The cap is worn continuously 30 minutes before starting, during and 90 to 120 minutes after the infusion treatment.

Older cooling caps are frozen before use and must be changed every half hour, newer brands have their own cooling system. However, the effect of the cooling headgear is apparently largely independent of these technical differences [51].