Scalp necrosis in temporal (giant cell) arteritis: Implications for the dermatologic surgeon

W. Dummer*, D. Zillikens, A. Schulz, E. B. Bröcker, H. Hamm

*Corresponding author for this work
25 Citations (Scopus)


Temporal arteritis, a variant;of giant cell arteritis, is a systemic granulomatous vasculitis of large and medium-sized arteries. Usually the clinical features are dominated by ophthalmological and neurological complications. In rare instances, ischaemic necrosis, especially of the scalp, may lead patients to the dermatologist. We report a 76-year-old woman presenting with a unilateral scalp necrosis, accompanied by a dramatic ipsilateral impairment-of vision. Immediately-after duplex-sonography of the extracranial vessels and after initiation of corticosteroid therapy, the diagnosis of temporal arteritis was confirmed by temporal artery biopsy. One month later, because of insufficient secondary healing of the ulcer, the defect was covered by a mesh graft. The taking of the graft was delayed due to immunosuppressive therapy, but was complete. The patient unfortunately died as a result of complications related to surgical removal of an aspergilloma in the sphenoid cavity secondary to immunosuppressive therapy. We discuss the technique of artery biopsy and the possibility of surgical management of scalp necrosis in temporal arteritis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Dermatology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)154-158
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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