What Are the Potential Complications From Temporal Artery Ligation?

Q: Dr. Eppley,  I found you from an internet search for “bulging temporal artery”. I have read that you recommend multiple location ligation done in office as the treatment.  I do, however,  have a few questions for you. 

1.  The artery doesn’t always bulge.  I don’t know what triggers it but there are times it’s almost flat. Can a ligation be done ONLY if it’s bulging? (It can be irritated to swell up by rubbing or me crying) 

2.  Are there chances of complications? (loss of hair due to lower blood flow? Surrounding arteries swelling from diverted blood flow?) The internet has scary scenarios!

3.  How would I attend follow up appointments for stitch removal etc since I’m 4 hours away? 

 4) How long is the recovery time and what can I expect in the way of swelling, bleeding or bruising? (take a week off or more?)

A: In answer to your questions about temporal artery ligation of a bulging or prominent temporal artery branch in the forehead/temple area:

1) It is important to be able to find the temporal artery branch to ligate it. So some degree of bulging is needed for the surgical ligation procedure to find the potential multiple ligation points.

2) Other than some very small scars, the risks of the procedure are merely as to how well it works. There is no risk of hair loss and surrounding arteries become dilated as a result of these ligations.

3) The small suture that are placed are dissolveable so there is no need for any follow-up visits.

4) There really is no recovery of any significance. Other than some small swelling at the ligation points, there are other issues of concern.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana