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Temporal Artery Biopsy

What is a Temporal Artery Biopsy?

A temporal artery biopsy is when surgeons remove a small part of a blood vessel by the same name for testing in a lab. The temporal artery runs along the temple of our head, so the doctor will numb the area and make an incision to remove the sample. After, the area is stitched and bandaged so the patient can start recovering.

Why are Temporal Artery Biopsies performed?

Temporal artery biopsies are usually performed to test for an illness called Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA). GCA causes the blood vessels in our head to become inflamed which makes it harder for blood to circulate. That leads to a wide array of symptoms that can manifest as throbbing headaches where the inflamed blood vessel is, vision problems, and even flu-like symptoms. GCA is important to catch because it may lead to strokes or loss of vision if left untreated. Examining the blood vessel in a lab remains the best way to diagnose GCA in patients with tell-tale symptoms.

What happens after a Temporal Artery Biopsy?

After your procedure, your doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment with you to review the results of the biopsy and recommend treatment if appropriate. Making these appointments is key so you and your surgeon can seamlessly work a treatment regimen into your daily life.