Temporal Artery Ligation

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am inquiring about temporal artery ligation. I have two prominent vessels on my temples. They are actually not veins. It’s a temporal artery on both sides of my head. I’ve spoken with two doctors who said to leave it alone. Here are pictures of them. I was told these are arteries, not veins. Both doctors told me that they should not be removed as they supply blood flow. Sometimes they’re not very visible but that’s usually when I’ve just woken up in the morning. I have a little bit of high blood pressure and I’m on medication for it. Anyhow, I’m not really sure what to do. I didn’t have these a few years ago but as I’ve gotten older they’ve gotten worse. I really don’t want to have permanent scars from a procedure.Thanks.

A: Thank you for sending your temporal pictures. These are classic enlarged anterior temporal branch arteries from the bifurcation of the main trunk of these superficial temporal artery. They will be more noticeable with your blood pressure is higher, when exercising or when in hotter temperatures due to the increased blood flow in them. Whether you have them treated by temporal artery ligation to reduce their visibility is a personal decision. But if you were to do so, this is a perfectly safe procedure that is done through very small incisions in the temporal hairline and possible a very tiny one at its end at the side of the forehead. These small incisions do not create scarring concerns. The forehead and scalp have such a redundant and extensive network of blood supply that reducing flow through these vessels will not cause an harm in so doing.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianalpolis, Indiana