Can My Temporal Artery Be Ligated For Cosmetic Purposes?

Q: Hi, I am located out of the United States. I am 42 years old and have a temporal artery on the left side of my head that has become very prominent over the last year and I am looking for someone to do a temporal artery ligation. I came across a forum where Doctor Eppley was commenting on the procedure saying that it was relatively straightforward. I would like to know if this is a surgery that he could do for me. I would be willing to travel to Indianapolis for it.

A: The superficial temporal artery (STA) branches off of the main trunk of the temporal artery just above the ear. It then courses forward until it crosses high in the forehead from the temporal hairline. It leaves the camouflage of the hairline at this point to cross into the forehead skin. For most people the STA is not usually seen although it can be palpated in the temple or forehead region. In a few people it becomes more noticeable. Whether this is because it is just simply more superficial or actually enlarges in size is unknown.

The STA can be ligated to eliminate its pulsatile visibility. However, it has to be done both high and low to prevent backflow. That may mean that the high ligation point may not be in the hair-bearing temporal scalp and require a small skin scar. Loss of the STA causes no known problems so it can be ligated without any vascular consequence.  

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana