If you suffer frequent headaches or migraines, a temporal artery biopsy can be an essential part of your diagnostic testing. At Arizona Preferred Surgeons in the Arrowhead area in Glendale, Arizona, the area’s leading surgeons perform a temporal artery biopsy to determine if you have giant cell arteritis. If you need to find out what’s behind your migraines, call the office now or click on the provided appointment scheduler for help.
A temporal artery biopsy is the removal of a tiny section of a specific blood vessel in the temple area in your head. This procedure can help your doctor diagnose a severe disease called giant cell arteritis.
You might need a temporal artery biopsy if you have symptoms of giant cell arteritis, a form of vasculitis. At least 90% of people with giant cell arteritis have chronic head pain, typically around the temple area.
Other possible symptoms of giant cell arteritis include a tender-feeling scalp, jaw pain, sudden vision loss, and double vision.
About half of the patients with giant cell arteritis also have polymyalgia rheumatica. This condition commonly causes neck, shoulder, and hip pain and stiffness.
If it’s not treated, giant cell arteritis can eventually cause permanent blindness. For this reason, an accurate diagnosis through temporal artery biopsy is essential early in the course of your symptoms.
The headache pain of giant cell arteritis can feel quite similar to a tension headache or migraine. But they’re entirely different disorders. While migraines and tension headaches are neurological disorders, giant cell arteritis headaches are caused by vascular inflammation.
A temporal artery biopsy is usually an outpatient procedure. In this procedure, your Arizona Preferred Surgeons doctor uses ultrasound guidance to pinpoint the site of your temporal artery.
The doctor numbs the treatment area with a local anesthetic before making a small incision directly over your artery. They then section off a small portion of the artery for the biopsy and close its ends. Your surgeon places a few small sutures to close your skin incision.
In some cases, your surgeon will repeat the process on the other side of your head to get samples from both areas. After lab analysis of your artery tissue samples, you’ll receive a diagnosis.
If you’re diagnosed with giant cell arteritis, effective treatments are available, including high-dose corticosteroids and lifestyle changes.
To schedule your temporal artery biopsy, reach out now to the experts at Arizona Preferred Surgeons by phone or use the provided scheduling link.