Cold Cap Therapy

Cold cap therapy can offer a solution for patients facing hair loss during chemotherapy treatment. Scalp cooling at very low temperatures (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) constricts blood vessels beneath the skin of the scalp, which reduces the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reach and are absorbed by the hair follicles. As a result, hair may be less likely to fall out. For some patients, hair preservation can provide hope, keep energy levels high, maintain privacy and enhance self-image. Cold cap therapy is recommended for select chemotherapy regimens and diagnoses. Prior to use of cold cap therapy, make sure to speak with your physician and clinical team.

We offer two types of cold cap therapy at the Dubin Breast Center:

1. Penguin Caps – Specially designed caps are placed on the head to cool the scalp for a period of time dependent on each individual treatment.

  • The caps are robust yet soft and malleable at extremely cold temperatures. They contour to the shape of the head.
  • Currently, Penguin Cold Cap rental fees are supported by philanthropy and the generous support of the Marisa Acocella Marchetto Foundation.
  • The cold caps are stored in a sub-zero freezer, which the Dubin Breast Center houses within the infusion suite.
  • Patients will need to bring someone with them to their treatment appointments who can work to change out the cap every 20-30 minutes, ensuring the cap maintains the correct and optimum temperature.
  • Changing out the cold caps can be done by a friend, family member or a cold cap technician.
  • Cold cap technicians can be hired by the patient to consult with the patient, friend or family members, teaching them how to use the cold caps, or be hired to cap the patient for all treatments. It is important that we emphasize that cold cap technicians must be hired by the patient and do not work for Mount Sinai Hospital or the Dubin Breast Center.
  • Patients’ hair remains dry during treatment.
  • Cold cap placement must begin about an hour before the hair loss inducing chemotherapy, be kept on throughout treatment, and kept on for an estimated 2-3 hours post treatment.
  • Penguin Cold Cap will provide the patient with instructions for use.
  • A consent must be signed prior to use.

To find a cold cap technician, which are 3rd party consultants that you can personally hire to assist you with your Penguin cold cap treatment, you can speak to a Clinical Coordinator who can provide you with various names and contacts of technicians that have capped other Dubin patients. Hiring of a cold cap technician is at the discretion of the patient. All technicians charge a different fee depending on a variety of factors including number of treatments, and length of regimen. The Dubin Breast Center does not keep a list of these fees, nor is pricing set by the Dubin Breast Center. Patients can choose to hire a technician for the entire length of treatment or hire them as a consultant for the first treatment so that a relative or friend can be taught how to cap. Patients and their family members or friends have also self-taught on how to cap by doing their own research. Penguin Cold Caps will provide you with information and instructions for use once you decide to pursue cold cap therapy with use of Penguin.

2. Dignicap Machine – Specially designed machine that provides continuous scalp cooling, by placing a fitted silicone cap on the patients head, which is connected to a cooling and control unit.

  • The cooling unit acts like a refrigerator, cooling the caps. Circulation is controlled by temperature sensors housed in the cap and regulated by valves. This enables the system to self-regulate, providing constant and stable cooling.
  • The silicone cap is at room temperature when first put on the patients head, and then gradually cools down.
  • Patients’ hair must be wet during treatment.
  • Dubin Breast Center staff operate the Dignicap equipment.
  • Dignicap use must begin about an hour before the hair loss inducing chemotherapy, be kept on throughout treatment, and kept on for an estimated 2-3 hours post treatment.
  • A consent must be signed prior to use.

For more information on cold cap therapy, please call Stephanie Roldan, Practice Manager of the Dubin Breast Center, at 212-241-3776, or Katherine Fitzpatrick, Assistant Nurse Manager of the Dubin Breast Center, at 212-241-3760.