Temporal Artery Ligation

Q: Dr. Eppley, I lost a fair amount of weight a few years ago after giving birth to twins, and suddenly my superficial temporal artery on the right side of my face started bulging. Now, 5-6 years later, I have another one on my left side. They are bothering me on a daily basis even though I’ve just cut my hair to cover them. I am wondering if anyone has ever experienced permanent hair loss or scalp problems as a result of ligating these arteries? I had a dermatologist tell me once that there was nothing you could do to them without “going bald”, which obviously caused me great concern. But from all that I’ve read in my research, I have never heard of this happening. I really appreciate your response. Many thanks.

A: In my experience with the temporal artery ligation, I have never seen any adverse scalp effects….nor would I expect that to happen. The scalp is a tremendously interconnected vascular system that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to cut off the blood supply to any one area without long incisions. I do not consider scalp or hair loss a risk with the procedure. But if or really wanted to ‘hedge your bet’ so to speak about the potential hair loss concern, just do ligation on one side at a time.

On a side note, of all the temporal artery ligation patients I have treated they have all been men. I have yet to see a wome

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana