- In the third episode of “Dr. Pimple Popper” season 3, dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee treats a man named Inoke who has a softball-sized lipoma, or fat-filled growth, hanging off his right shoulder.
- The growth was initially half the size of a golf ball, but grew bigger over an eight-year period, Inoke said.
- Inoke feared his growth was cancerous, but Lee was able to cut it open and confirm it was actually a non-cancerous lipoma.
- Lee removed the fat in one giant piece, which ended up weighing nine pounds.
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The first two episodes of “Dr. Pimple Popper” season 3 featured lipomas, or a fat-filled growths that sit between a person’s muscle layer and skin layer, and the third episode was no different.
During the 43-minute episode, Dr. Pimple Popper, whose real name is Dr. Sandra Lee, treated a man named Inoke who had a large lipoma connected to his upper right arm.
Inoke, a 51-year-old who lives in Sacramento, California, with his wife and kids, said he first noticed the lump eight or nine years ago when it was about half the size of a golf ball.
He thought the lump would heal on its own, so he just let it be. Then it started to grow into the size of a softball, according to Inoke, though to viewers it appears to be even larger, like a cantaloupe.
The size of the growth prevented Inoke, a Fiji native, from pursuing his favourite hobby, Fijian traditional dancing.
“It hurts my shoulder and that gets to me emotionally, but I know there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said, adding that he helps support his community by teaching younger folks the dance techniques instead.
Still, Inoke’s son said it was sad to see his dad on the sidelines instead of partaking in his passion for dance.
Previous doctors warned Inoke the growth could be cancerous
Over the years, Inoke saw a few different doctors about the lump and though none were able to diagnose him, they warned that it could be cancerous.
Inoke never got a biopsy to find out if their suspicions were correct though. “I was scared to know if they were right,” Inoke said.
But after nearly a decade living with the softball-size lump, Inoke decided it was time to take charge of his health and see Dr. Pimple Popper.
Dr. Pimple Popper diagnosed Inoke with a lipoma
Luckily, Lee was able to quell Inoke’s anxieties about the potentially cancerous tumour when she met him at her office.
First, she examined the growth by touching it. Lee noted how heavy it felt, but also said it moved around under Inoke’s skin, a sign that it likely was benign.
“If something is adherent or stuck to your body, that’s a bad sign,” Lee said, because cancerous growths tend to be hard and immobile.
She also said the fact Inoke had the bump for the better half of a decade and otherwise appeared healthy was a positive sign.
Lee then decided it was time to cut the lump open and confirm it was a lipoma like she suspected.
Typically, lipomas grow slowly and are fairly small, about 2 inches in diameter, according to the Mayo Clinic. But according to Lee, some lipomas grown large so quickly and start to hang off of the body, which was likely the case with Inoke.
To open and remove the growth, Lee asked her team to grab her “big snip,” which refers to a large pair of surgical scissors.
Next, Lee numbed the growth with an injection, then she sliced it in half. Throughout the procedure, Inoke said he just kept picturing his family’s faces to distract himself, and eventually, Lee was able to cut the growth open enough to get a look inside.
She found a massive fat deposit, which proved Inoke’s bump was a lipoma, not a cancerous growth.
Lee started to pull the fat mass out in one piece, but said she had to do so carefully to avoid injuring any blood vessels or nerves underneath it. “Make sure we catch anything if anything falls,” Lee said to her medical assistant as she continued to pull out the jiggly white mass.
Eventually, she was able to cut the fat deposit out of Inoke’s body and place on a surgical tray, where it overflowed. Next, Lee had to remove some of Inoke’s extra skin that grew around the lump and cauterize, or essentially burn, blood vessels to prevent internal bleeding. Then, she stitched up the area and gave Inoke a look at his growth-less right arm.
“I feel way lighter. My arm feels amazing,” Inoke said.
Lee also weighed the fat she removed and announced that Inoke “won” when it clocked in at nine pounds and two ounces, making it the heaviest growth she’s removed to date.
“I’m excited to get back home and dance like I was meant to,” Inoke said, and then promptly showed Lee one of his traditional Fijian dances.
- Read more:
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