A woman has the ‘melon-sized’ lipoma from her shoulder removed in a procedure she describes as ‘mission impossible’ in Dr Pimple Popper.
In tonight’s episode of the TLC show, Jackie, 50, from Indiana, explains how for the past nine years, she has been living with a huge, bowling ball-sized lump on the back of her right shoulder.
‘My bump looks like a big melon,’ she says. ‘It’s awkward shaped, it sticks way out, it’s just huge.’
The big red, bulging lump has been causing Jackie grief for the best part of a decade, and it’s showing no signs of getting any smaller.
Jackie (pictured), 50, from Indiana, has the ‘melon-sized’ lipoma from her shoulder removed in a procedure she describes as ‘mission impossible’ in tonight’s episode of Dr Pimple Popper
The big red, bulging lump has been causing Jackie grief for the best part of a decade. Pictured, in the process of getting it removed
‘I’ve had this condition for approximately nine years, it was really small but it protruded out,’ she reveals. ‘About a year ago, my bump tripled in size and I got checked out by a family doctor. He just said it was a very common tumour.’
Before the bump appeared, Jackie lived an active, social lifestyle. But now, she feels too embarrassed to go out and has retreated to her garden.
‘Since the bump has grown, I avoid people whenever I can,’ she admits. ‘If I didn’t have my garden work, I would probably never leave my house. I’m in a shell now, whereas before I was more out there and bubbly.’
As well as the impact the lump has had on her everyday life, it causes Jackie constant pain and discomfort.
‘I just want to sit down and just block the whole world out and get some stability,’ she says. ‘Most of the time, I can’t even get comfortable enough to do that.’
Jackie’s bump has also impeded on her rapper husband’s plans to involve her in one of his homemade hip-hop videos.
Jackie says it would be nice to just wake up and look in the mirror and not see the ‘huge thing’ on her back (pictured)
‘He really wants me to be in the camera with him, but most of the time I’m no, no, no,’ Jackie says.
Above all else, she just wants to be her old self again.
WHAT IS A LIPOMA?
Lipomas are non-cancerous lumps caused by an overgrowth of fat cells.
They can form anywhere on the body, but are most common on the neck, shoulders, abdomen and back.
They are usually just under the skin, shaped like a dome and soft to touch.
They occur in about one in every 1,000 people in the US. and about one in 100 people in the UK.
Doctors are unsure of what causes lipomas, but believe it may be due to an inherited faulty gene or physical trauma
Most do not cause any pain unless they are deep in the body and press on nerves or organs.
If a lipoma affects the bowels, it may cause constipation and nausea.
Most lipomas do not need removing, but surgery may be necessary if the growth is large, causing symptoms or unsightly.
Source: Cleveland Clinic
‘It would be nice to just wake up and look in the mirror and not see this huge thing on my back,’ she says.
At the end of her tether, Jackie travels to California to see Dr Pimple Popper – aka Dermatological Surgeon Dr Sandra Lee – at her new, COVID-adapted outdoor clinic to see if she can say a long overdue goodbye to the lump on her back.
Having already had a video consultation with Jackie, Dr Lee is now able to see Jackie’s back bump for the first time in the flesh.
Without putting Jackie under the knife she won’t know for sure, but based off the CT scan the expert suspects that she’s dealing with a lipoma.
‘There are little septations, meaning there’s little bands that are going across it that are kind of keeping it in place,’ she explains. ‘It is kind of confined within this net of fibrous tissue, and that makes this more difficult to remove.’
Examining it first hand, Dr Lee is shocked by how heavy Jackie’s lump is.
‘It starts to weigh down, it’s pretty heavy,’ she says.
Due to the size of the lipoma, Dr Lee warns Jackie there is a chance she won’t be able to remove it, but promises that they will open her up and see what they are dealing with.
‘I have a little stress and a little anxiety, but I am trying to overpower the doubts and have it be an outstanding day,’ Jackie says.
Brought into the operating room, Jackie has her melon-sized shoulder boulder numbed with local anaesthetic, ready for Dr Lee to make her first incision.
Slicing down the top and through the centre of the bump, Jackie’s taut skin splits apart, revealing a jelly-like glob of yellow fat. Dr Lee’s suspicions are confirmed: It’s a lipoma.
‘So far, this looks good,’ Dr Lee says as she begins waggling her finger, trying to coax the lipoma out of Jackie’s skin. But soon, the expert realizes the size of the job she has on her hands.
‘I can feel all these little nets, I shouldn’t have spoken too soon!’ she admits. ‘I was right, this lipoma is definitely going to be fight, there’s a lot of septations, there’s a lot of firm, scar-like tissue just holding this lipoma in place.’
Unable to take the lipoma out in one go, the tricky nature in which the lipoma has formed forces Dr Lee to take it out piece by piece, as she gradually slops it out of Jackie’s back.
The 50-year-old says the bulging lump causes her constant pain and discomfort. Pictured, trying to lay down
As Dr Lee puts it, it’s a challenging procedure that requires perseverance.
‘There’s a room filled with laser beams, but now it’s septations, and I’m trying to pull this lipoma out without cutting anything I’m not supposed to,’ she says. ‘It’s like lipoma mission impossible!’
Painstakingly, Dr Lee removes the massive lipoma piece by piece and, after what seems like ages, Jackie is eventually lipoma free.
‘Jackie’s lipoma gave me some trouble, I do think I got all of it,’ Dr Lee says, breathing a sigh of relief. ‘Lipoma impossible: mission accomplished!’
Using a handheld mirror, Jackie gets a glimpse of her lipoma-free shoulder, and can’t believe her eyes.
‘Oh my gosh, that looks so awesome!’ Jackie says gleefully. ‘There’s no more huge bump there, and to see my skin flat, and see the stitches, and then looking and being able to see my tattoo again, I haven’t seen that tattoo in nine years!’
Popped on some scales, Jackie’s lipoma weighs in at over 6lbs.
‘I can’t believe it’s actually out of me, it’s so amazing!’ she says.
Dr Pimple Popper returns to TLC for a brand new series at 10pm on Thursdays from 28th January, and stream on discovery+
This post was first published on DailyMail.