In the season finale of "Dr. Pickel Popper," Dr. Sandra Lee treated a woman with a lipoma on her butt – but it's not an ordinary lipoma.
Dr. Poppers Popper
Tests show that patient Taylor has a layer of fat that is her spinal cord.
It's obviously related to the bump on her butt, which means any removal procedure could be risky.
Finally, Lee successfully removes some of the bumps to give Taylor a more "normal" look.
Warning: This post contains graphic images.
Fans of Dr. Sandra Lee's TLC Show "Dr. Pimple Popper" will have to wait patiently for more pops. While the series was officially extended for a second season starting in January 2019, the first season ended on Wednesday evening.
The first five episodes of the series deviated from the pop scenes that made Lee famous on YouTube. Yes, there were still some bursting cysts and satisfactory lipoma removal, but many patients came to Lee for help with complex, mysterious, totally unpopular skin conditions.
But the finale also showed Lee's most intriguing case: a bump on the butt that looked like a lipoma, but actually signaled a serious health problem.
Here's a closer look at the episode.
In an interview filmed at her home, Taylor explains that she has had a lump since she was born, even though she grew up in her teenage years. It sits almost directly in Taylor's gluteal column – the part of the body more popularly known as the rupture.
Taylor says a previous doctor told her that the lump was a lipoma or a benign, greasy tumor. She had it removed in 2016, but then it went down. She estimates that it's about the size of a baseball. Although she has given her a nickname ("Lizzie the Lipoma"), Taylor adds that the knot affects her self-confidence.
"I can not hide it all the time, and from time to time I'll be in a locker room and I'll try something and get so angry," Taylor says in an interview. "I can honestly say that I feel beaten."
In an exam room at Lee's office, Taylor says her lipoma has grown bigger than it used to be, despite surgery to remove it. She also tells Lee that she has had the lump since birth – her mother noticed when she was a toddler.
Both revelations strike Lee as strange.
"There are two warning bells," says Lee Taylor. "One is, why did this doctor remove that … and then it came right back and then the other big thing for me is that a normal lipoma does not appear at birth, which you get over time something else to happen. "
Given the location of the bump near the spine, Lee asks if Taylor had any problems with the nervous system in the lower body. Taylor says no.
"It has never influenced anything but my trust," she says. "I have never had problems."
Finally, Lee decides to order an MRI for Taylor and collect some medical records from her former doctors. However, it stops any kind of procedure.
"I can not do this today," Lee says. "I think it would be dangerous if I performed this procedure today, you will not be born with a lipoma unless something else happens."
Taylor returns to Lee's office for her MRI scores and receives shocking news. Lee explains that there is a fat pad in Taylor's spinal cord – the nerve bundle that connects the brain to the rest of the body.
In a behind-the-scenes blog post published on their website, The Pretty Pimple, Lee offered a more detailed explanation of the condition. She wrote:
"It has been confirmed by the radiologist that this is a lipomeningocele, which is a neat word for what is essentially a tiny strip of lipoma in its spinal canal." It's actually a tethered cord, meaning Taylor's Spinal cord … is pushed aside by this lipoma and is now glued to the side of the spinal canal The radiologist said it was an absolute miracle that she had no negative signs of it … Damage to your spinal cord in this area can cause bowel – and bladder problems, nerve function, even causing trouble walking … and anything that could be permanent! "
On her blog, Lee noted that Taylor's bump is a potential marker for spinal dysraphia. This is an umbrella term for various states in which the spine becomes abnormal during the development of an embyo, according to the Spine Hospital of the Neurological Institute of New York.
Lee wrote that she has never seen such growth in an adult before because they are usually diagnosed when the patients are very young.
"Undoubtedly, this is something that should have been captured by other doctors long before Taylor saw me," Lee wrote.
As a result, it's not clear whether the fat deposits in Taylor's spine are actually linked to the bump on her butt – but that seems to be the implication.
When Lee offers to remove some of the tissue on the bump to make it more aesthetically pleasing, she warns that the procedure could upset Taylor's spinal cord.
"Remember, we know what that is [bump]is associated with, and anything that causes trauma in this area could potentially damage your nerves that come out of your spinal cord, "says Lee.
After talking to her father over the phone, Taylor decides to continue with the procedure. Lee removes excess skin and superficial fat with extreme caution.
"Even tugging on this lipoma could interfere with spinal cord growth and I do not want to do it in any way," says Lee. "By staying as superficial as possible, I can shape it well and make sure it looks good without really disturbing it."
When the removal is complete, Lee Taylor sews the normal amount of stitches "two to three times" to make sure the incision heals properly.
And although the growth is not completely eliminated, the difference is noticeable:
In a follow-up interview, Taylor says that she and her parents have decided to see a neurosurgeon if it is possible that her lipoma will be completely removed.
But even her size has affected her life.
"I'm thrilled with my results," says Taylor in an interview. "Since my operation with Dr. Lee, I feel safer, and when I lost a part of Lizzie, a lot of my shoulders were taken."
While you wait for the second season of the show, you can follow all past episodes on the TLC website or via the TLCGo app. And look at a clip from the episode: