Editor’s note: This post contains graphic images and descriptions of dermatological conditions.
- In the last episode of the fourth season of “Dr. Pimple Popper,” Dr. Sandra Lee was tasked with removing more than 50 lipomas from a man’s body.
- The man, Gerard, also had a blood-clot condition that made the surgery more dangerous than previous lipoma removals.
- In the end, Lee was able to remove 16 of the dozens of lipomas on Gerard’s body.
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In the final episode of the season, which aired on Thursday, she faced a particularly challenging condition: a man with more than 50 bumps all over his body.
Gerard, a 46-year-old teacher from Brooklyn, New York, said that he developed his first lump on his thigh when he was in his 20s and that over the years more growths popped up on his arms, legs, and stomach.
Before seeing Lee, Gerard said he had too many lumps to count – he estimated between 50 and 75.
“I’ve been told, since my first lump, they’re benign lipomas, and over the years I’ve asked my doctors if there’s anything I can do about that,” Gerard said.
His doctors said that in theory it would be possible to remove all his lipomas, fat-filled growths that sit between the muscle and skin. But they said that because of the large number of growths on Gerard’s body, it wouldn’t be realistic to remove them all, so he never bothered with treatment.
Gerard said that instead he tried, and often failed, to hide the lumps under his clothes. It left him feeling uncomfortable at work, and even though he used to love exercise he avoided the gym so as to not draw attention to himself.
He also avoided full-length mirrors and said he hadn’t looked at himself in one for years.
“It makes me angry. I have enough other problems,” Gerard said, adding that he also has a hereditary disorder called factor V Leiden that causes his blood to clot.
Gerard said that it was difficult to mask the pain of his bumps and that he put on a smile for his two young kids. He hoped Dr. Pimple Popper could help him.
Dr. Pimple Popper discovered Gerard had familial multiple lipomatosis
At Lee’s office, Gerard showed the doctor the many lumps on his arms, describing the others he had all over his body.
Then he mentioned that his sister also had growths on her body.
Lee said that meant Gerard likely had a condition called familial multiple lipomatosis, a rare condition where a person forms various lipomas.
It’s not clear what causes the condition, but there are ways to treat it. According to the National Institutes of Health, multiple lipomatosis causes the formation of lipomas that don’t typically cause pain but can interfere with daily life and can be surgically removed if needed. Multiple lipomatosis becomes familial multiple lipomatosis when it occurs in more than one family member.
Unusually, however, Gerard’s growths were much larger than those typical for someone with familial multiple lipomatosis.
When Lee found out Gerard has a blood condition, she was concerned about treatment
Gerard said that to treat his factor V Leiden he takes aspirin daily to thin his blood and prevent pain, swelling, and potentially life-threatening artery blockages.
Though Lee has treated her fair share of lipomas, she became concerned.
Surgically removing the lipomas was possible, Lee said, but could increase Gerard’s chance of forming blood clots that could get into his lungs and lead to a life-threatening situation.
Gerard had to consult his doctor, who green-lighted the procedure and gave him an anticoagulant to prevent clots from forming, which quelled Lee’s fears.
Lee decided she would have to keep Gerard awake during surgery to keep his body relatively active and reduce the risk of blood clots forming.
Lee couldn’t remove all Gerard’s lipomas, but she got 16 of them
“I can tell Gerard wants all of his lipomas gone, but that can’t happen today,” Lee said.
Rather, she removed 10 lipomas that weren’t near important or large blood vessels where blood clots would be more likely to form if they were disrupted.
To remove the lipomas, Lee numbed the area around each one, then used a small surgical knife to cut the lipoma open down its centre.
Lee kept asking Gerard through the surgery if he felt any warmth, swelling, or pain, which can be signs of a blood clot. To minimise bleeding with each lipoma she cut open, Lee used her gloved fingers to pull the fat deposits out of Gerard’s body.
In the end, Lee was able to remove 16 lipomas and stitch them shut for Gerard.
Gerard said that while he was disappointed that most of his lipomas were still intact, he felt “like a new man.”
“It’s a new start,” Gerard said. “It’s a new beginning.”
- Read more:
- Dr. Pimple Popper’s favourite acne to treat is a special kind of blackhead
- Watch Dr. Pimple Popper remove a 9-pound lump that was growing on a man’s arm for nearly a decade
- Dr. Pimple Popper reveals her nighttime skincare routine, and it only includes 3 steps
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