I have to have a temporal artery biopsy, have been warned will be called at short notice. Can you drive afterwards?

Also can anyone tell me what to expect. How long afterwards do you have to remain in day surgery? Will I be able to return to work the next day? Do I need someone with me? I was expecting a letter informing me of some of this, but seems will just get a phone call instructing me to be there within an hour. The hospital is 25 miles from my home and work, thanks in advance, Runrig x

28 Replies

  • I had my biopsy 3 years ago. I would certainly recommend that you do not drive yourself and if possible take someone with you. The procedure itself is quite painless, carried out under local anaethsetic. It took about 1 hr and I had the stitches out 1 week later. It healed very quickly and has left no scar. Good Luck.

  • Hi runrig01,had mine a year gone Feb and you do need someone with you mine did hurt a bit like someone with a sponge trying to get inside my head,weird but I had dissolving stitches,and yes it takes a day or so to get to grips with it,my took about 25 mins not to bad was in hospital for 3 hours altogether.good luck,let us know how it went ritter Anne

  • runrig01 ritter again why did you have the flu jab? do you know some of the ingredients in the vaccine,mercury .antifreeze.phenol. animal blood animal viruses and Formaldehyde just to name a few.

  • I was informed of Alluminium and mercury are used to switch immune system on. But I work in an acute hospital ward and get exposed to the flu in winter. I am also asthmatic so if I get flu could cause me serious problems. I have had a flare up of neck and shoulder pain this time, same as last year, but arranged to have it whilst on holiday. The dr I spoke to explained it would be a call at short notice, so would not be able to take someone with me. Was hoping if I have to drive there, would be ok to drive home. Otherwise I'd need to travel back next day to collect car. Should I be ok to go to work the next day??

  • Up to 2 weeks ago I was feeling fine, I thought that the PMR had flitted off after nearly 3 years I had a blood test which proved all normal and then I had a flu/pneumo jab 3 days ago. I now feel tired I am sweating a lot more and feel generally useless. I have not got any other PMR symptoms. Could it be the jab Wendy

  • You "have to have" temporal artery biopsy? Why? I had one for GCA four years ago and now believe it served no purpose whatever. Do you have GCA symptoms? If you do then you are taking prednisone and the biopsy will probably be negative and useless. Did prednisone quickly (day or two) relieve the symptoms? If so then the GCA is almost certainly confirmed, so why is a biopsy needed?

    Each of us is different, but my biopsy was much less a problem than a visit to a dentist.

  • Hi masonc3, I am currently on low dose Pred for Atypical PMR so the dose is not helping the GCA type symptoms. My Rheumy is skeptical that I could have GCA so young and with normal bloods, I am 48. If there is a small chance of finding something I must give it a try, or face the same skepticism I've faced for the last 7 months. I am at a point having reduced to 8.5mgs that the only symptom I don't have is vision problems. The Pred resolved the PMR symptoms in 4 hours. If my experience is less troublesome than a trip to the dentist I will be pleased. I guess from the Rheumys point of view it ticks a box when they follow guidelines.

  • You can have GCA at age 48. Your biopsy will be negative because of the pred you are taking.

    8.5 mg may not be enough to protect you from GCA. "Normal bloods" is often a misunderstanding or ignorance. What , in fact, are your ESR and cRP numbers? Each person has a unique normal when healthy. The population normal is useless. A tick in the box is not a substitute for proper treatment. Strong GCA symptoms are a warning of loss of eyesight in one eye as the next symptom.

  • Hi masonc3, I don't actually know the current readings Rheumy just continues to say they are normal. The highest my ESR has been to my knowledge is 15 and CRP is never above 1. I have been trying to hold on the dose of 8.5mgs In the hope that the biopsy may just show something if I'm still having all the pains. After biopsy I plan to increase a little till I see Rheumy. I had gone up to 10mgs 5 weeks ago and the pulsatile tinnitus that kept me awake quietened down. Since reducing back down I am back to sleepless nights with the pulse banging in my ear! I hope even if biopsy is negative, she will at least try higher dose of steroid - I have a few research papers now that show approx 4% will have normal bloods.

  • I had a biopsy while in hospital 3 days after starting iv methyl pred in june. It was negative so cant say if you would be able to drive was under local anastetic .Im 50 so was on the cusp age wise though they said I was young for gca. had amourosis fugax and pmr symptoms ,my crp was 215 and esr was 40 odd so I gave them a indication from bloods I know not all people are able to show up on blood tests. In my experience if they are treating your symptoms and you are reacting to steroids then you have gca ,in the litigation led world we live in docs wont dx you unless 100% ,this biopsy seems to be the gold medal way of dx according to everything we read on gca.Im currently on cyclo treatment which dampens down your immune system. I thank god they saved my eyesight ,on 20 pred at moment, last time was 20 started to get double vision 20 plus times daily upped dosage to 80 reduced to 20 now but with cyclo treatment hoping for a flare less reduction this time .Hope you get some clearer help off your consultant.

  • I had a biopsy eighteen months ago to diagnose my GCA. It was painless and I believe vital to find out for sure what I was suffering from.

    Do get someone to drive you though.

    Best of luck

  • Had my biopsy in April this year, it's not as bad as you think it will be, your awake as it's a local anaesthetic, and surgeon talked me through everything as he was doing it, I didn't feel a thing, but knew someone was doing something, then a couple of stitches, and rest on the ward for about an hour, then home, not sure I would want to drive after having that done, better if you can arrange for someone to collect you, I was ok the next day, except I did have a bruise on the side of my face, hope it goes well for you


  • Thanks for that Jan, if it is short notice will go alone, and arrange for Hubby to pick me up when he finishes work.

    Cheers Runrig :-)

  • Will I have to have time off work after procedure thanks

  • I didn't need any time off afterwards. Although my rota meant I was off the next day which I was greatful for as head still ached a bit.

    The biopsy itself is nothing to worry about, I managed to drive home afterwards as I had been called at short notice. Good luck

  • Yes good idea, I did have a bit of a headache after, but think that's because I worried and no one told me what to expect, was surprised how painless it was,

    Best wishes,

    Jan x

  • There is a video on you tube which shows you the procedure.

    They have to shave off your hair over the biopsy site.

    The most painful bit is when they inject the local anaesthetic.

    I wasn't too sore afterwards, simple analgesia managed the pain.

    The site did bleed a bit through the dressing, make sure you take a pile of swabs etc home with you.

    Good luck.

  • Thanks Keyes, not sure if I feel better or worse about it having watched it.

  • Hi Runrig,

    Will keep my fingers crossed for you. I had dissolving sutures, they did sub cuticular sutures so I don't have much of a scar. It's a bit rubbish that they can't give you a date, I think waiting for a phone call makes the anxiety worse.

  • It would be good to have a date and plan, I work on a busy ward so will be difficult to just drop things and go, although boss says I must. From your experience should I be ok for work the next day?

  • Can't really give you an answer to that. I had my TAB 5 days after developing headache, blurry vision and jaw claudication. At the same time I had 5 pulses of IV methyl pred. I was very symptomatic and exhausted as had 10 months of hip and shoulder pain, fatigue, anemia and weight loss before that.

    Like you I had struggled on working 12 hr shifts in a very busy ITU. I haven't managed to get back to work since developing my GCA like symptoms. Give yourself a break and don't go into work the next day. It will be difficult to say for definite how you will feel.

  • Well folks just to let you know biopsy is all done. Was called in a short notice yesterday afternoon. Took about 50 minutes but surprising how painless it was, sore today now local has worn off. Have a few days off before I'm back to work on Thursday. Managed to drive myself home :-) thanks for all the support, Runrig x

  • Hi Runrig,

    Glad to hear it all went ok. Enjoy your days off. Fingers crossed that the biopsy will provide some answers.

    Best wishes.

  • Thank you Keyes, am relaxing today. Hope this finds answers to symptoms. Thanks for the support, hoping your trip to Averdeen proves helpful in finding answers for yourself. Will keep you posted. Cheers Runrig x

  • Hello Runrig

    So glad to hear that's over for you and that it went well. Hopefully the soreness will soon pass off - meanwhile paracetamol may help. I do hope that after searching so long for an answer to your symptoms the biopsy will prove helpful.

  • Thanks Celtic, if this discomfort helps provide answers it will be worth it. If positive it would prevent the skeptics in medicine continually making me feel like I'm mad. Take care of yourself and thanks for the support you give, it really is appreciated. Cheers Runrig x

  • I had a temporal artery biopsy, out patient, had someone to drive me home. Pain really bad, was on prescriptive meds. Stiches to dissolve,have appointment 10 days. My experience was not as easy as some of the surgeries.

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