Basic Guide To Understanding Cranial Prosthesis

There are people who need more than what ordinary wigs can provide. Cranial wigs or cranial prosthesis is what those in the medical world would call it. This hair replacement aims not only at providing aesthetic value, but also boosts a person’s emotional and mental well-being.  

In this article, you will learn more about cranial prosthesis, and how it can help to improve people’s quality of life.


What Is A Hair Or Cranial Prosthesis?

Replacing your hair is possible using cranial prosthesis. For medical purposes, cranial prosthesis is also called extra-cranial prosthesis, full cranial prosthesis or cranial hair prosthesis. This term pertains to hair wigs recommended for patients who have alopecia or temporary or permanent hair loss that may result from radiation, chemotherapy or other clinical illnesses.


Who Wear Cranial Prostheses?

As previously mentioned, individuals with temporary or permanent hair loss commonly use cranial prosthesis. Here are the following conditions wherein cranial prosthesis is highly recommended:

  • Alopecia Hair Loss
  • Radiation Related Hair Loss
  • Chemotherapy Related Hair Loss
  • Cancer Related Hair Loss
  • Kidney Related Hair Loss
  • Thyroid Related Hair Loss


How Is Cranial Prosthesis Different From A Wig?

Cranial hair prostheses are made using advanced technology, which work differently from regular wigs. Here’s how cranial hair prosthesis are done:

  • The cranial perimeter mold measurement is taken to attain a perfect fit.
  • The cranial prosthesis mold is created at the base, where the synthetic or natural hair is attached.
  • When it comes to the base, it’s made of a hypoallergenic fabric since patients who are undergoing chemotherapy usually experience heightened skin sensitivity. Also, their scalps are prone to allergies.
  • The same step is done when the hair is applied to the base, which is focused on preventing knot scalp touches.


How To Choose The Right Cranial Prosthesis?

Alopecia aerata, an autoimmune disorder, is just one of the many medical conditions that may cause baldness, so wearing cranial prosthesis is highly recommended. When choosing a cranial prosthesis, pick a color and style that is similar to your own hair. Also, determining your facial shape is important by pulling your hair away from your face. Standing in front of a mirror, check the shape of your face and choose the right style of cranial prosthesis.

Take a look at the following tips when choosing the right cranial prosthesis for you:

  • Oval-shaped faces do well with any hairstyle of cranial prosthesis since they’re perfectly symmetrical.
  • A round-shaped face should choose a cranial prosthesis with some height on top of the face, to create the illusion of a thinner face.
  • Heart-shaped faces do well with bangs slanted to one side. Also, shoulder-length cranial wigs are recommended.
  • A square-shaped face should have a hairstyle with the hair brought forward at the jaw and temples to narrow down the cheeks. Asymmetrical cranial prosthesis style is perfect for this facial shape.
  • Oblong-shaped faces do well with bangs and curls towards the top of the face so the face appear wider and shorter than the actual shape.


Is Cranial Prosthesis Covered By Insurance?

Since the 1950s, doctors have been prescribing the cranial prostheses, which help to protect disease-weakened immune systems against the sun, as well as to regulate body temperature. Therefore, it’s no surprise that cranial prosthesis is covered by most insurance policies.

Here are some important things you need to know about cranial prosthesis and insurance coverage:

  • Coverage Depends On Insurance Plan: You may get reimbursement for a full cranial prosthesis for medical hair loss. Most insurance companies cover 80 to 100 percent of the cost for full cranial prosthesis. A patient may receive one cranial prosthesis every year. Your prosthesis may also be a tax-deductible medical expense, depending on your plan.
  • Important Steps To Take: Ask your insurance provider whether your insurance policy covers cranial prostheses. Determine what type of prosthesis is covered, such as human hair wigs or synthetic hair wigs. Identify the terminology and documentation that the insurance company needs to have on the prescription to be covered.
  • Request And Get A Prescription: Obtain a prescription from your doctor for a cranial prosthesis using the recommended terminology set by your health insurance provider. The prescription must include a procedure code or number for your cranial prosthesis, which will be submitted along with your insurance claim. It would help if you asked your doctor to write a letter that explains the reason why you’re having hair loss, including its effects on your emotional well-being.



How long will a cranial prosthesis last?

The life span of a cranial wig depends on a person’s lifestyle, daily activities, occupation and proper care. Instructions will be provided by a hair professional so you can get the most wear out of your cranial wig and also the best look possible. You’ll also get recommendations as to the proper hair care products you can use.

What type of cranial wig is the most durable?

Hand-tied cranial prostheses are more durable compared to machine-made wefts.

How much is a cranial prosthesis?

The price of a cranial prosthesis will highly depend on its specification, such as the size, material and attachment methods used. Also, the price range of a cranial prosthesis will depend on how customized it is. You can talk to a cranial prosthesis supplier to get a free quote.


Do you need to frequently wash your cranial prosthesis?

The frequency with which you wash your cranial wig depends on how often you use it. The more you use it outdoors, the more it becomes exposed to germs and dirt. It’s generally advised to wash your wig every two weeks. Using mild shampoos when washing your cranial wigs is highly recommended to avoid damage.



Cranial prostheses come in different styles, sizes and materials, which are custom fit according to the patient’s cranial measurements. Your insurance coverage may reimburse or cover cranial prosthesis, so you should contact your health insurance provider to know your plan coverage.  

Choose the right style of hair wig for your facial shape. Remember to avoid using harsh hair products on your cranial prosthesis. Proper maintenance of cranial prosthesis is important, so that you can use it for a long time and save money in the process.



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Written by HealthStatus Crew
Medical Writer & Editor

HealthStatus teams with authors from organizations to share interesting ideas, products and new health information to our readers.

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