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What Are Cranial Prostheses? Questions and Answers

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Also called a hair prosthesis, a cranial prosthesis is a custom-made hairpiece for patients with health conditions that lead to hair loss. Typically, these prostheses are made by hand, and they create a more realistic look than wigs. Here's a look at some essential facts about cranial prosthesis.

What's the Difference Between a Cranial Prosthesis and a Wig?

People often use these terms interchangeably, but they are different. In general, a wig is worn for cosmetic reasons, while cranial prostheses tend to be used by people with health issues related to hair loss.
Additionally, cranial prostheses are made more carefully than wigs. Each prosthetic is custom made to fit the unique shape of the patient's head. Cranial prostheses also feature materials that are designed to be comfortable on patients’ heads. They don't itch like a traditional wig.

How Is a Cranial Prosthesis Made?

Rather than just measuring each individual's head, the manufacturers of cranial prostheses usually make a mold of the person's cranium. This informs the shape of the base. Bases typically feature poly synthetic leather, silicone or other hypoallergenic materials. This prevents allergic reactions or unnecessary itching.
Then, the hair is attached to the base. The hair used on cranial prostheses is 100% virgin human hair. If it is knotted to the base, the manufacturers ensure to position the knots in a way that won't rub against the patient's head.
The hair is set up so that it can be parted anywhere. You don't have to worry about the scalp portion showing if you part the hair off center or in any other spot.
Finally, cranial prostheses are designed to protect the scalp from excessive sun exposure. The carefully selected materials also help to regulate body temperature and ensure the wearer doesn't get too hot.

Are There Partial as Well as Full Cranial Prostheses?

You can get full cranial prostheses that are designed to cover your whole head. However, not everyone needs full coverage. Luckily, in those cases, there are partial cranial prostheses.
There are a range of partial coverings with a variety of designs. For example, some systems are designed to cover your crown or add fullness near the front of your hair line. Generally, you need clips or adhesives to hold partials in place. You don't need that with full prostheses — their custom, tight fit ensures they don't fall off and that they move just like your natural hair. 

Who Uses Cranial Prostheses?

As indicated above, anyone with health issues related to hair loss may use a cranial prosthesis. That includes alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, trichotillomania and natural balding. Patients who lose hair due to chemotherapy may also use cranial prostheses.
While those are the most common health issues, people may also lose hair due to lupus, thyroid problems, heavy metal poisoning, late-stage syphilis and a range of other issues. These patients may also turn to cranial prostheses.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Cranial Prostheses?

In many cases, insurance companies may cover the cost of cranial prostheses. Typically, insurers will not cover the cost of the wigs, and that's one of the reasons why it's essential to focus on the difference between these two products.
Generally, you need to be diagnosed with a serious condition that causes hair loss, and your doctor may need to write a prescription for or at least recommend one of these hairpieces. To find out if your insurer covers cranial prostheses, contact a representative directly. They can let you know what's covered and what the out-of-pocket costs may be.
To learn more about cranial prostheses, contact Hansen Fontana, Inc. today. We can help you design the perfect solution for your needs, and we pride ourselves on giving all of our clients the care and compassion they need through this time.