Temporal Artery Ligation for Prominent forehead vessels
Some people do not like bulging veins on their forehead.
The Veins in question are actually arteries – the temporal artery.
For many men, as the hair thins, the ‘ veins’ become more prominent. This can be worse after exercise, when hot or after drinking alcohol.
The blood vessels are harmless unless they are accompanied by a headache or problems with vision when they may be because of a condition called Temporal Arteritis. ( If you have these symptoms then you should see your doctor urgently)
If you have simple prominent forehead vessels then they can be treated by a simple procedure under local anaesthetic.
As the procedure is classed as ‘cosmetic’ it is not available on the NHS.
If you would like to consult with a Veincare surgeon about prominent vessels on your forehead, please click on the ‘Online Booking’ button to be transferred to the correct site.
If you have far to travel, it may be possible to arrange a telephone consultation or web based consultation.
What does the Procedure Involve?
Under local anaesthetic, a cut is made in the skin on the side of the head where the bulging artery starts. The artery is then tied off and normally cut in half. The procedure is a bit like turning a tap or valve off and then cutting the pipe.
The operation reduces the flow of blood in the artery so the pulsation disappears. After the operation, the artery can appear much larger but, provided the pulsation has gone, this is normal. Over the next few days the artery reduces in size.
The cuts are sewn up with a ‘dissloving stitch’ and a thin line of glue is placed over the cut to make it waterproof.
The procedure takes between 30minutes and an hour and patients are able to get up off the couch and leave soon after the operation.
There are no restrictions on exercise after the procedure and patients can return to normal activity within a day. All that is required is to keep the cut clean.
It is possible to have a shower but the skin should not be soaked until it is healed, like any cut, as that increases the risk of an infection.
There will be some bruising.
What are the results of the procedure?
By 2016, 86% of patients have required one procedure to treat their prominent temporal arteries. Some 13% were dissatisfied with the initial outcome and were offered a second procedure. None of those who had the second procedure required a further operation.
There have been no reports of infections, bleeding or numbness.
In 2014, all patients who had temporal artery ligation were asked to feedback. None of those who responded were unhappy with the outcome. Most feedback was left on an online forum
In 2016, one patient reported that they were unhappy with the outcome of the procedure. They were offered an opportunity to have another consultation with a view to a further procedure, if required, but declined.
Are there any problems with the procedure?
There will be 2 scars which some people may feel are prominent although they will fade with time. The cuts are usually made in the skin crease to minimise the cosmetic element of the procedure.
Any cut can become infected, there can be some bruising or even bleeding. There is a small chance that a nerve giving feeling to the forehead can be damaged so there can be a loss of feeling in the affected area.
In theory, the reduction in blood supply could result in hair loss but most people who want temporal artery ligation have already developed male pattern baldness so it is difficult to tell.
What happens if the procedure does not seem to have worked?
If a patient is unhappy with the outcome of any procedure, they are offered the opportunity to have a free consultation to discuss the issue and, if appropriate, they may be able to have further treatment without charge.
Sometimes tying off the temporal artery does not reduce the appearance to the satisfaction of the patient. That has happened rarely but when it has, it is because other blood vessels have taken over the major blood supply to the temporal artery. On the few occasions this has happened, the surgeon has performed a second operation without additional charge but it has meant the patient has had to return on another day. On these occasions, neither the clinic nor the surgeon have charged for the second procedure.
Ligation of the artery does not always produce the desired outcome and some people’s expectations cannot always be met, even with repeat surgery.
If the procedure does not meet my expectations, can I have a refund?
The treatment fees in medical practice are for the procedure that is performed, the time taken to perform the procedure and the costs of the equipment. It is not possible to guarantee a certain outcome, although in the vast majority of cases, patients are happy with the results.
It is not normal practice for clinics, hospitals or consultants to refund any part of the treatment fee when a patient is disappointed with the outcome of the procedure they have had.