Scalp cooling with the DigniCap™
The cooling cap is used every time chemotherapy is given. The cap sits on the head all the time the cytostatics are being administered and for a set time afterwards. When the silicone cap is connected to the cooling unit, the patient has to sit or lie down near it while the treatment is in progress. It can be disconnected briefly, for example, to let the patient go to the bathroom.
The hair is moistened before the cap is put on to ensure the best possible transfer of cold from the cap.
It is important to try different sizes to get a silicone cap with the best fit. The cap must sit tight against the scalp without air pockets. The contact between the cap and the scalp is crucial for the results of the treatment.
The fit of the outer cap is also important, since it has to hold the silicone cap in place and also make sure the inner cap is close to the scalp.
The cooling cap is at room temperature when it is placed on the head. When the system is started, coolant begins to circulate and the temperature gradually drops, for 20-30 minutes, to the selected temperature – usually 5°C.
Some patients experience discomfort during the cooling period. They may feel a headache or tension around the head from the cold, or they may shiver with cold. This discomfort is usually transient during the cooling-down phase and gradually disappears when the body has got used to the cold. The discomfort can be reduced by drinking something warm and wearing warm clothes or an extra blanket.
The administration of cytostatics begins when the temperature has reached the desired level. The cooling cap is worn the whole time the chemotherapy is given, which can be anything from a few minutes to several hours. Throughout the scalp cooling the temperature is held constant at the selected level. Any deviations are registered and corrected by the feedback provided to the system by the sensors. In the event of error an alarm goes off.
If the patient needs to go to the bathroom, for example, the cap is kept on the head but disconnected from the cooling unit. The cool persists for a while thanks to the insulating outer cap. The fewer and shorter these pauses are, the better, since the circulation of coolant stops temporarily.
When the chemotherapy has ended, the cooling cap must be kept on for some time while the drug is circulating in the blood. The time, 30-120 minutes, depends on the type of cytostatics and the size of the dose.
When the scalp cooling is over and the system is switched off, we recommend letting the cooling cap remain on the head for another 15 minutes or so, to give less discomfort when the circulation in the scalp returns to normal.
We recommend letting wet hair dry on its own. Do not use a blow-dryer.