Dr. Pimple Popper drained an infected cyst, and pus streamed out of it like a waterfall

Hollis Johnson/InsiderDr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper.
  • Dr. Sandra Lee, better known as Dr. Pimple Popper, drained a woman’s epidermoid back cyst that had become inflamed and turned purple because it ruptured under her skin.
  • Lee said these cysts look infected but typically don’t require antibiotics if a dermatologist like herself drains the pus out of it.
  • To do that, Lee numbed the area and then created small incisions in the cyst. She kneaded the outside of the cyst to make blood and pus come out of it like a waterfall.
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On Thursday, Dr. Sandra Lee, the dermatologist better known as Dr. Pimple Popper, shared what she called one of her “favourite” treatment videos of all time, in which she drained a patient’s orange-sized back cyst.

The patient had an epidermoid cyst, a type of cyst that occurs when skin cells burrow and multiply underneath the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Usually, epidermoid cysts grow slowly and aren’t painful.

In this case, the cyst had become inflamed and purple because it burst underneath the skin, Lee said in the video.

Though the cyst isn’t technically infected, Lee said she refers to ruptured cysts this way because it’s the easiest way to explain to patients what’s happened.

“When an epidermoid cyst ruptures, it creates a vigorous foreign body inflammatory response — this skin becomes warm, tender, painful, and swells, simulating an abscess,” or a painful buildup of pus, Lee wrote in the video’s caption.

To treat the inflamed cyst, Lee first had the patient use a warm compress on the area for two days to calm the irritation. Then, in her office, Lee injected a numbing solution into the back cyst.

She used a small blade to poke at the cyst, and liquidy pus and blood drained out of its centre like a waterfall. Lee used her finger to press above the incision she made, and even more pus and blood drained out of the growth.

“Gosh, it wants to come out,” she said.

As pus drained out for five more minutes, the cyst’s swelling began to go down. Lee said that this treatment method helps remove pain and inflammation almost immediately and that antibiotics aren’t needed after the cyst is drained.

Lee created a few more small incisions so more pockets of pus could drain out of the growth, and her assistant gently kneaded the area with her fingers to coax the liquid out.

Lee then put a small strip of gauze in the opening of the incisions she made to collect excess fluid. If left in place, excess fluid can lead to an infection, she said.

She told the patient to come back in a few days to check on the incision and that she should start to feel less pain and discomfort as the cyst’s inflammation went down.

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