Hopefully, your oncology team gave you the recommendation to go see a wig specialist before you start your chemo. A specialist will take pictures of you before your hair starts to release and will also take cuttings of your hair to document the texture and color for matching purposes. You can always choose to be a blonde one day and a brunette the next if you purchase multiple wigs! But most women want the look like they had before their hair fell out. You may have a team approach with a wig Fitter who counsels you on styles and types of wigs and then a wig stylist who works in a salon and specialized in cut and color of wigs.
Wigs generally come in synthetic and human hair options. Synthetic wigs are more ‘wash and wear’ and require much less care than a human hair wig. They also cost much less than human hair wigs but can be less comfortable due to the heavier fibers used to make these wigs.
Human hair wigs have more styling and coloring options, but with options comes a higher price. These wigs can be more comfortable since the hair filaments are lighter in weight. However, they are more fragile than synthetic wigs and require a bit more care.
An important component of a wig is the cap (underlying material that holds the fibers). Certain caps can be altered to create a custom fit and look. A wig stylist will cut, color and style your wig to achieve the look you want.
Scalp care products are important to the comfort and condition of your head. I can recommend some products that my patients found helpful while undergoing their chemotherapy.
Medicare does not cover any wigs. Other payers generally cover all or part of a wig and sometimes cover multiple wigs for you. When calling for benefits, the terminology “cranial prosthesis” may help the agent find your benefits.
Medicare does not cover wigs while other payers usually cover one, and sometimes multiples wigs for your patients. I have called on highly regarded GYN Oncology practices, only to find out they were clueless as to the wig choices their patients had and that insurance actually covered wigs as a benefit. As you know, hair loss is a very stressful and emotional time in a woman’s life. The boutique ‘wig room’ usually sees patients dealing with all types of cancer and chemo drugs that cause hair loss. It is best for your patients to see a wig specialist before their hair starts to release. Cuttings and photos of a patient’s hair, before hair loss, helps insure a woman can obtain the look she wants and is used to seeing in the mirror.