Every week on Dr. Pimple Popper , dermatologist Sandra Lee, MD, meets with men and women suffering from rare, often confidence-crushing skin conditions. The boils they carry are massive. The cysts are bubbling up to balloon-sized. But it’s the people underneath the incredible lumps and growths that make the show worth watching. Just cover your eyes through the pus-filled eruptions, if you must.
Trust us when we say that this week’s episode of Dr. Pimple Popper, titled Every Rosacea Has Its Thorns, is not to be missed. The fifth installment of the second season features four patients who will melt your heart: There’s Papa Pat and his painful rubbery nose; Aziza and Lauren, two friends connected by their cysts; and Joe, who has a massive third-eye-like mound in the middle of his forehead.
If you don’t have time to stream it — or the stomach to sit through the satisfying removal of cyst after cyst — scroll through for the next best thing: a detailed recap of everything that went down, including some of the most tear-jerking moments the show has ever seen.
Case #1: Patrick
In the sprawling fields of Lincoln, Montana, we meet Patrick — or, as his grandkids call him, Papa Pat — a retired crane operator with a bulbous nose. “The issues with my nose started with a sunburn,” Pat says. “I was working under the hot sun on a construction site in Las Vegas, and I noticed my nose was getting really sunburned. I tried using sunscreen and keeping the sun off my nose, but it was still always red and irritated.”
As a heart-wrenching detail, Pat tells us that his nose has affected his relationship with his grandkids because they’re scared of it. “My wife Debbie has my back,” Pat says. “She sat the grandkids down and said: ‘Don’t make Papa Pat feel bad about his nose.’ I only hope Dr. Lee can take the roughness off my nose and make me look presentable again, for my grandkids.”
At the consultation, Dr. Lee diagnoses Pat with rhinophyma — a rare form of rosacea. “Patrick has the most advanced case of rhinopyma I’ve ever seen,” Dr. Lee says. “After examining him, my main concern is the functionality of his nostrils.” The only problem standing in the way of Dr. Lee helping Pat is that he’s been taking prescription blood thinners to treat a different medical condition, which makes Dr. Lee hesitant about performing a surgery if she can’t stop the bleeding. But Pat traveled all this way, and he wants her to try.
Dr. Lee decides to bring Pat to surgery, proceeding with extreme caution considering Pat’s bleeding risk. For the surgery, she uses a tool called a loop electric cauterizer, where an electric current runs through a metal loop, heating it up so that it can cauterize the blood vessel and control the bleeding (we’ve seen this before, in episode one of season two). Essentially, it works like a hot knife cutting through butter, and can help sculpt away superficial built-up skin — like the kind on Patrick’s nose.
In surgery, Dr. Lee is able to reduce some of the nasal buildup, mainly around the the outside of Pat’s nostrils to help with his breathing, but has to stop short of filing down the whole nose because of the bleeding hazard — it’s the safe call. Pat will come back in a few weeks for a follow-up procedure, once he’s off his blood thinners.
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Case #2: Lauren & Aziza
At the consultation, Dr. Lee diagnoses both girls with what’s called a ganglion cyst, which are fairly common and not dangerous. They’re like little pockets of fluid buildup, buried deep under the skin and bubbling up around the joint between the bones of the wrist. Dr. Lee says the best course of action is to drain the fluid from the cyst to bring down the inflammation.
The matching surgeries are satisfyingly speedy. Dr. Lee injects a big syringe into the lumps, which basically sucks all the gooey gel liquid from the ganglion cysts, making the skin fall flat again. Following simple and successful surgeries, Lauren and Aziza walk out of the office as cyst-less sisters.
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Case #3: Joe
Joe pays a visit to Dr. Sandra Lee for the removal of a marble-sized bump growing between his eyebrows — a spot that almost makes it look like a third eye. “About six months ago, I found what I thought was a pimple,” Joe says. “But it just kept growing into the size it is now, and I don’t know what to do.” Given that the growth sits smack dab in the middle of Joe’s face, it’s pretty much impossible to hide.
Feeling around Joe’s knobby third eye, with the knowledge that it’s grown pretty big fairly fast, Dr. Lee isn’t sure what kind of cyst is under the skin. Excited to see what’s going on, Dr. Lee takes Joe into surgery, slicing into the lump and gently squeezing at the sides to expose what’s inside. With a little pressure, a white stream of cottage cheese-like pus spews out of Joe’s head. Dr. Lee sews him up, hiding the scar sneakily within a forehead wrinkle. The result is a happy and cyst-less Joe.
Before we wrap, Patrick returns for his second surgery for Dr. Lee to finish what she started. She uses the wire loop to scrape the rest of the bulbous, rubbery skin from Pat’s nose. The result is incredible, and Pat feels like a new man with his new nose.
And that’s a wrap on episode five. Tune in next week for another set of stories — or, if you just can’t wait that long, catch The Poppy Bowl, a six-hour popping marathon, this coming Sunday on TLC.
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