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Temporal Artery Biopsy - Topic Overview

If you have symptoms of giant cell arteritis (GCA) and your doctor believes you may have it, he or she may order a temporal artery biopsy to make sure.

Giant cell arteritis can occur at various points along an artery camera.gif. To test for giant cell arteritis, your doctor may have a surgeon take a sample of a blood vessel on your temple and test it for inflammation.

If a temporal artery biopsy shows no signs of inflammation but your symptoms strongly suggest giant cell arteritis, you and your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of treatment and of no treatment. You and your doctor will decide whether or not you will proceed with treatment.

If you are taking high-dose corticosteroids, the biopsy result may not be accurate. In this case, any biopsy testing must be performed as soon as possible, preferably within 2 to 5 days. Biopsies done more than about a week after the start of high-dose corticosteroids may be falsely normal (false-negative).

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: April 10, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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