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Temporal Arteritis: Diagnosis

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This information was reviewed and approved by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (4/1/2009).

A diagnosis of temporal arteritis is based largely on symptoms and a physical examination. The exam may reveal that the temporal artery is inflamed and tender to the touch, and that it has a reduced pulse.

Your doctor may order a temporal artery biopsy. In this procedure, a small section of the artery is removed through an incision in the skin over the temple area and examined under a microscope. A biopsy that is positive for giant cell arteritis will show abnormal cells in the artery walls.

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