Temporal Artery Biopsy: Hi, Following my first... - PMRGCAuk


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Temporal Artery Biopsy


Hi, Following my first Rheumatologist appointment yesterday, i am being sent for a temporal artery biopsy on Monday. I forgot to ask some practical questions and hope someone here will answer them. Does this procedure affect my ability to drive away from the appointment? Should I try to get someone to go with me? How long does it take to get the results? Any other advice to a nervous patient?

13 Replies

I had a temporal biopsy done 18 months ago. It was done at short notice, so I had to drop things at work and go, so was unable to take someone with me. I drove myself home afterwards (about 25 miles), before the local anaesthetic could wear off. I was probably there for 3 hrs in total, an hour of which was after the procedure. If you have someone who could go with you that would probably be best. My results took about a week. I found it less traumatic than a trip to the dentist. Hope all goes well for you. 😃

I had two temporal biopsies many years ago. The first one was negative so they biopsied the other side. The surgeon told me the results in the operating room. My husband went with me which I was very glad. The procedure itself did not cause much pain at all. I wish you well, and do take someone with you.

Hi. I was a bit worried before I had my biopsy, but it was absolutely fine. I sat in like a dentist chair with my head tilted to the side. The nurse shaved a tiny area just above my ear, then the surgeon injected the local anaesthetic, which to be honest did sting a bit but certainly no worse than the dentist. Then he did the biopsy and stitched me up, I felt no pain, no discomfort. All fine. Afterwards all fine, they gave me some antibiotic cream to apply to the wound for a week and said I shouldn't get it wet, so no hair washing. I don't drive but did feel well enough. Later that evening it felt a bit tender as the anaesthetic wore off and I took a couple of paracetamol, which did the trick. After that no pain, no problems, all healed lovely, the stitches dissolved, hair grew back. I got the results in about a week. And for me it was a clear negative. But a later PETCT scan did show I have GCA. Hope this helps X

It was quick painless and I had someone with me but I could probably have driven home although depends on how you are with anesthetic. I would mention though that no one told me I would be covered completely with a sheet over my eyes and head and couldnt see. I am claustrophobic and had to make them give me an inch of daylight otherwise I would have freaked. I got my results at my next appointment but they said only a few days. Honestly this biopsy is really nowhere near the big thing I thought it would be. My results were negative and showed no giant cells but I was already on steroids so it was possible this would happen. Good luck and I'm sure you'll be fine.

Hi, just to let you know that I had a temporal artery biopsy last July. Yes, you absolutely need someone to go with you and drive you home as you will be put out under anesthesia for the procedure. I am sure that you have been told no food or drink since the night before. I had only one side done, and you hair is shaved a bit for the surgeon in that spot. Mine still has not full grown in yet. Sometimes the doc does a bilateral biopsy. I was fearful of the procedure, but truly it was not at all bad, and no pain afterwards. I believe it took several days before I got the biopsy report, and mine was negative. Just to let you know that there is a very high incidence of "false negative" reports, so you could still have inflammation there. The surgeon told me that even if the report is negative and you really did have the inflammation, he would be able to see changes in the artery and healing. Good luck with the biopsy and don't worry!

Well, as you can see from the replies so far, everybody has a different experience depending on the surgeon and the hospital! I had my biopsy in September and was glad of my husbands company whilst waiting for my turn. Biopsy done with local anaesthetic, No cover over me,just a sheet around my shoulders but did have to get changed into a gown. Very relaxed in surgery and no real pain, just a bit sore when they gave the aneasthetic but soon over. No problems afterwards, stitches removed at GP surgery after 10 days. Please try not to worry, it really isn't too bad at all.


Thanks everyone for your replies, my husband works away so it's pot luck if he is available. Feeling calmer about the whole thing now. Just so good to hear from people who know .

I agree re no pain except the injection stung. I did hear the sound of the surgeon cutting through ?whatever it was - gristle?- and I found that disturbing. That was the only issue and perhaps if you know before that it is possible, it might help. Best of luck, it is not horrible. I was VERY glad of my husband to drive me home.

Hidden in reply to allotment-lover

Thanks for the nose warning, I can see how it could be disturbing! Spoke with husband and he says he will be able to go wth me if I need him to, so he is on the hoof got an evenings waiting at hospital.


I really would suggest you have someone with you - and preferably to drive you. Not because it is a major procedure but everyone responds differently and very occasionally it can turn out to be a bit more fiddly to get the blood vessel out and you could feel a bit shaky after. If you are in the UK I think it is very unlikely you will have a general anaesthetic but even a local anaesthetic can make some people feel a bit bleugh.

How long it takes to get the results depends on the sort of histology they are able to do. The bit of blood vessel is sent to the lab and they make slides of very thin cross-sections of it and examine them under a microscope. Sometimes the tissue is frozen and they cut the sections. sometimes it is preserved in another way and that takes longer before they can look at them.

Hi I was admitted to hospital, had severe headache, and jaw claudication, this was last March, had biopsy two days later, and it was positive, and kept in for another night, it's probably a bit scary, but just felt a pinch, and one of nurses held my hand 😄 ( not that I wanted her to ) but they were all very nice, and had the dissolving stitches,

Thanks for your inputrunrig01, I am having the biopsy this morning and I am a little nervous but I have a wonderful Dr. I lost sight in my right eye three weeks ago and he put me on 80 mg of prednisone right away, I have had a very bad side effect to the steroids, just spent one week in hospital with chronic pancreatitis attach".... Worse horrifying pain I have ever had and it was caused by prednisone but I have gotten back a good amount of my sight so he lowered the prednsone 30 mg and told me after the temporal biopsy he would reassess and see what he could do about the steroids, if I stay on steroids, which I believe is the only treatment for GCA , I could spend allot of time in hospital with pancreatitis. It's a tough place to be but I am so thankful to The Lord that my sight is coming back slowly. Sorry for rattling on, just wanted to thank you for your post and to tell you I pray all goes well for you in the future, God bless you.

Stuck Between a Rock and Hard Place ( but only for a while, I have faith that my situation WILL turn around)

Can anyone tell me how long you were kept after your temporal biopsy?

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