hair loss & chemo

Specialties Oncology


Has anyone heard of using a scalp tourniquet or hypothermia cap

(cooling cap) during chemo to minimize or prevent drug contact with hair cells. I read about this intervention in a Nursing 91 magazine. Does anyone know if there is an actual product out there. Any input would be appreciated. The article said that it is applied 15 minutes before, left on the for the duration and removed 30 minutes after.


4 Posts

The key words here are "Nursing 91". I've heard of the process, but it is no longer used because it is so barbaric and it doesn't work.


2 Posts

Dear bellie,

Losing ones hair as a result of chemo is psychologically devastating to the patient and is a major concern for most. It is somewhat ironic in light of the other life threatening side effects of the treatment. Holistically speaking, is wiping out the patients immune system with toxic drugs less barbaric. Just a thought.


128 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics.

In 1980, while going thru chemo for Wilms at age 8, I was willing to try anything to keep my hair. I tried the bp cuff around my head and also tried ice packs. Unfortuneately it did nothing but give me an enormous headache. All of my hair fell out. I hope its STILL not being pitched as an option. I never thought of it as barbaric (the actual "therapy" of the ice or bp cuff)- the fact that it is known not to work yet still offered to pts to try is barbaric- its deceptive.


44 Posts

This type of treatment is not recommended for a very simple reason.

In theory, it works because it causes vasoconstriction, which delivers less chemo to the scalp and hair follicles and hopefully causes the hair not to be affected.

The big problem is easy to see. If you are delivering less chemo to the hair follicles, (and also the skin and fat tissues in the surrounding areas) then chemo is not getting there!!! The purpose of most chemotherapies is to treat micrometastises.

I agree that losing your hair is devastating. It's a whole lot more devastating to keep your hair, lose your life, and wonder if you made the trade. It's a lot more humane to help these people face the changes their bodies will go through.

It's all theoretical though, since the process really doesn't work from what I've seen.


51 Posts

When I went through chemo 4 years ago, losing my hair was the least of my concerns. My prime concern was to get through both chemo and radiation and hopefully beat my cancer. I am so very grateful that my cancer remains in remission.

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