DigniLife® – Cooling cap as prophylaxis against chemotherapy-induced hair loss
The diagnosis cancer has a dramatic on patients' lives and dominates every aspect of the daily routine one is accustomed to. Quickly the desire arises to gain back some of the normality of daily life. One's appearance is an important factor, especially hair which is sensible to chemotherapy and leads to obvious changes. Most other side effects of chemotherapy can effectively be mitigated by drugs or other forms of supportive therapy. Now, there also exists a mean to prevent chemotherapy-induced hair loss through cooling of the scalp.
Reduction of hair loss during chemotherapy. Results are dependent on type and dose of chemotherapy.
The sensor-driven cooling therapy with the DigniCap system is individually monitored and controlled during the whole intravenous application of chemotherapy. The patient wears a soft, non-allergenic silicon cap through which a cooling agent circulates. The scalp is thereby cooled to a therapeutic temperature of +3 °C to +5 °C (+37 °F to +41 °F). Sensors constantly monitor the scalp temperature and adjust cooling circulation accordingly to achieve an uninterrupted therapeutic cooling. This eliminates or at least reduces flow of toxic solutes to the roots of the hair. Additionally, metabolism within the cells of the hair root is reduced.
The silican cap is fixed onto your head with a neoprene coat to ensure tight contact to your scalp. Furthermore, thanks to the isolating nature of neoprene the cooling system is protected against the surrounding room temperature.
A computer-driven cooling device with a compressor feeds the cap with the cooling agent. This central device cools, controls the cooling and documents every single aspect of the therapeutic cooling procedure. A program cools the scalp within 20 minutes to the target temperature thus ensuring a pleasant experience while slowly accomodating to the low temperature.
Properties and effect
The main property of the DigniCap® system is the cooling mechanism which lowers the scalp's temperature for several hours. This leads to the constriction of those blood vessels supplying the hair roots and thus only small amounts of cytostatic agents reach the hair root, effectively reducing hair loss. Furthermore, the hair's metabolism is decelerated, adding to the effect.
Mode of application
The cooling process lowering the scalp's temperature to the target of +3 °C to +5 °C (+37 °F to +41 °F) lasts approximately 20 minutes.
During start of treatment the cooling agent is pumped into the circulation of the cap by the cooling compressor. This may be heard as gentle noise.
The cooling process is slowed down to approximately 20 minutes by a specific control program to ensure a smooth experience. This is a significant improvement over conventional freezing-cold systems from the past (-18 °C, 0 °F).
Once the target temperature is achieved, the patients adapt to the coldness. At this point, chemotherapy can begin.
- Clinically manifest metastases of the scalp or hematologic cancer entities with generalized hematologic affection (lymphoma, leukemia)
- lesions or diseases of the scalp or the head
- In cases of extreme sensibility towards coldness or cold-reacting antibodies usage of the system should be cautious
The cooling therapy causes a sensation of cold with individual variation of its perception.
In some patients light hair loss may occur after the first two rounds of chemotherapy. In these cases the minimal hair loss does not impair the overall picture.
Pressure pain only arises when the cap is not correctly placed on the head and can be avoided by communicating with the nursing staff in selecting and applying the correct cap.
- Very rare:
In very rare cases wrong positioning of the cap can lead to punctual hair loss. In some cases of colling treatment headaches were observed.
Blow-drying and washing the hair as well as any other procedures that may increase scalp blood flow should be avoided on days of chemotherapy.
For detailled information and potential results of a DigniLife treatment please consult our team. If you have a good understanding of the German language we invite you to have a look at the following website: www.brustkrebs-diagnose.de