WHEN Dr Pimple Popper's latest patient Mike first started developing a lump on his head he thought little of it.
But 15 years on, the bump has grown to the size of a golf-ball – and had become so noticeable it resembled a "third eye" on the back of his head.
The 53-year-old, from Lake Elsinore, California, said his biggest concern was the pain it caused when he got in and out of his car.
“I’ll hit my head on the doorsill and it definitely causes a quick little jolt,” he says in tonight's brand new Dr Pimple Popper episode.
Mike admits on the show that he hates doctors – and the last time he saw one, they got in an argument and he stormed out.
So he put the growth to the back of his mind and tried to get on with his life.
It was only when his partner Marilyn, who he credits as his "backbone", pointed out how big it had got that he finally decided to get some help.
“Marilyn had showed me a picture of it, and I didn’t really know how big it was,” he said.
“When I saw it, it kind of scared me a little bit.”
Finally deciding to get his lump removed, Mike travelled to see Dr Pimple Popper, aka Dr Sandra Lee, at her California clinic.
“You’ve got an eye on the back of your head, huh?” Dr Lee asks, looking at Mike’s bump.
“A big golf ball back there,” Mike replies.
Getting the impression that Mike isn’t very trusting of doctors, Dr Lee does her best to put him at ease so she can inspect his lump and determine if she can safely remove it.
She says: “I can tell right off the bat that Mike is not playing around, that he is a tough, macho dude.
"He is that kind of guy who doesn’t really like doctors, he doesn’t want to mess around.
“But I know that he is a soft little mushy teddy bear inside.”
Inspecting Mike’s bump, Dr Lee offers her spot diagnosis.
“It’s kind of red, like you’ve smushed it down a few times,” she says, prodding and poking at Mike’s bump.
"I do think that this is a pilar cyst, it definitely does wobble, I can see why this cramps your style."
Excited to remove Mike’s lump and give him some welcome relief, Dr Lee leads her patient into the clinic to begin the procedure.
Propped up in Dr Lee’s operating chair, she starts by numbing the area with local anaesthetic.
“I’m hoping that Mike’s pilar cyst is going to pop out nice and whole, and there’s not going to be any obstacles,” Dr Lee says.
“Will it be grumpy like he shows himself on the outside, or is it going to be soft and cuddly like I know he is on the inside?”
Slicing into the lump, she tells Mike that sometimes the cysts can "squirt" at her.
He responds:“I’ll try and hold it in."
As she adjusts the incision, Dr Lee says: “It looks like a little smile, like an evil smile."
Right on cue, Mike’s cyst starts spitting out bits of pus at Dr Lee, as she ruptures the cyst wall.
Squeezing it, Dr Lee releases a flood of gooey contents resembling apple sauce.
“It’s not brains coming out, thanks goodness,” Dr Lee jokes, as she scrapes out the remaining contents.
Next up, Dr Lee snips the cyst sack free, removing a dumpling-shaped ball of tissue from Mike’s head.
“It’s talking to us, do you hear it?” Dr Lee asks, as she wiggles around inside Mike’s head wound.
As Dr Lee stitches his head up, Mike insists that he won’t need to come back for a follow up appointment, claiming that he is capable of removing the stitches himself.
“I’ll take the stitches out myself. I took my braces off, I’m sure I can take out my own stitches,” he says casually.
Shocked, Dr Lee asks how Mike managed to remove his own braces.
“With pliers,” he says bluntly. “I don’t even want to imagine what that felt like,” a stunned Dr Lee says.
She then added: “I do not recommend that a patient take out their own stitches, it’s always best to see a professional.”
What is a pilar cyst?
Pilar cysts are flesh-colored bumps that can develop on the surface of the skin.
They’re sometimes called trichilemmal cysts or wens and are benign cysts, meaning they typically aren’t cancerous.
Although 90 percent of pilar cysts occur on the scalp in the lining of hair follicles, they can develop anywhere on the body.
These types of cysts can range in size – some can be the size of a quarter, and others can grow to the size of a small ball.
They’re also round in shape, sometimes creating a dome-like bump on the surface of your skin.
Pilar cysts may be hereditary – they're also more common in middle-aged women.
The cysts are usually harmless, but some people consider surgical removal for cosmetic reasons.
Mike leaves Dr Lee’s clinic cyst free, and ready to get on with his life.
“My procedure went well, she did a good job, took out the golf ball,” he says.
“I don’t have this nasty looking thing on the back of my head anymore."
- Dr Pimple Popper airs at 10pm on Thursdays exclusively on TLC, and stream on discovery+
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