Temporal Artery Biopsy
Berkeley Eye Center’s oculoplastics clinic provides patients with a full range of treatments designed to restore the eyes, eyelids and structures surrounding the eyes to their normal appearance, health and function. This includes advanced procedures such as temporal artery biopsies to diagnose cases of suspected giant cell arteritis (GCA), a disease, which left untreated, can lead to vision loss, blindness and stroke.
What Is Giant Cell Arteritis?
What is GCA? GCA is a disease that affects the arteries, causing them to swell and narrow. When viewed under a microscope, the cells of the inflamed arteries look enormous — hence the name Giant Cell Arteritis. The large and medium-sized temporal arteries that run along both sides of your head are most affected by GCA. The inflammation restricts the blood flow through the arteries, causing symptoms such as:
- Headaches, particularly in the temples and scalp
- Pain in your face, jaw, shoulders, arms, neck, and hip
- Vision problems such as blurred vision, double vision, or sudden vision loss
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Pain while chewing
Temporal Artery Biopsy to Diagnose GCA
The problem is, many other conditions also have the same symptoms as GCA. In order to confirm a diagnosis of GCA, it may be necessary to perform a procedure called a temporal artery biopsy. A temporal artery biopsy involves making a small incision and taking a sample of the temporal artery, which is located just under the skin and runs up the side of your face and head just in front of your ears. It’s a procedure that’s performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. The sample is then examined under a microscope to determine if your symptoms are the result of GCA.
Left untreated, GCA can result in serious, even life-threatening complications such as:
- Weakness in the eye muscles
- Damage to the blood vessels
- Aneurysms, including aortic aneurysms
- Vision Loss
At Berkeley Eye Center, we have successfully performed many temporal artery biopsy procedures. Our oculoplastic surgeon’s skills and advanced techniques mean there is little to no scarring after the procedure. It usually takes a few days for patients to receive the results of the biopsy. We will discuss the results with you and your physician and schedule follow up examinations to ensure the incision is properly healing.
Schedule an Appointment for Temporal Artery Biopsy
The Berkeley Eye Center of Houston has been a trusted name in vision health for over 60 years. If you have been exhibiting any of the symptoms of GCA, we urge you to consult with your physician immediately. If your physician suspects GCA may be the cause of your symptoms, contact Berkeley Eye Center today to schedule an appointment.