A man’s giant 20-year-old head cyst explodes over Dr Emma as she attempts to remove it in The Bad Skin Clinic.
Tonight’s episode of Quest Red’s Bad Skin Clinic focuses on Chicago-born James, who, for the past 20 years, has been living with a cluster of painful bumps dotted all over his head.
Big, bulging and instantly noticeable, the bumps cause James a great deal of stress and anxiety.
‘Emotionally, the impact is huge; the niggly bit in the back of my head, it’s like they’re looking at me and going, “what’s wrong with his head?'” he explains.
Tonight’s episode of Quest Red’s Bad Skin Clinic focuses on Chicago-born James, who, for the past 20 years, has been living with a cluster of painful bumps dotted all over his head (pictured)
James explains how the bumps cause him a great deal of stress and anxiety. Pictured, being removed
James reveals he first noticed the bumps beginning to appear two decades ago while travelling.
‘About 20 years ago I noticed the first lump on the back of my head,’ he says. ‘I was sitting on a plane trying to get comfortable and all of a sudden I realize that there was a bump.’
‘I didn’t think much of it and then all of a sudden there’s one on the front of my head, then one on the side of my head. Over the years they’ve just seem to have gotten bigger.’
While dealing with the hustle and bustle of looking after his growing family, James put treating the lumps on hold. But now, James he a change for the better, as the bumps continue to take their toll on his life.
‘The big prominent bump at the front is the key thing that jumps out. It’s the first thing that I see every morning when I look in the mirror. I hate it,’ he admits. ‘I get headaches, I get irritable really easy, and it effects work.’
Having sought help, both in the UK and back in the US, James is desperate to take back control of his life.
James reveals he first noticed the bumps beginning to appear two decades ago while travelling. Pictured, Dr Emma preparing for James’ surgery on his cyst
Dr Emma reveals that these are some of the biggest pilar cysts she has ever seen. Pictured, James’ removed cyst
‘Every time I’ve approached the GPs here or the GPs back in the US, they just kind of brush it off,’ he reveals.
WHAT IS A PILAR CYST?
Pilar cysts are common growths that form around a hair follicle, and are typically found on the scalp.
They form because the cells in the top layer of skin produce keratin, the protein that gives skin its strength and flexibility.
Normally, these cells move up to the surface of the skin as they start to die, so they can be shed.
But sometimes, these cells can move deeper into the skin and multiply, forming a sac – a ‘bag’ filled with fluid.
They secrete keratin into the middle of the sac, which forms a thick, yellow paste. This can ooze out of the cyst if it is burst.
Unlike other types of cysts, pilar growths strongly run in families, and are largely harmless.
They typically affect middle-aged adults, and women more than men.
Despite his eagerness to have the lumps removed, James does have some concerns.
‘Because I don’t know what they are, I’m nervous of having them removed, because you get cut open and all of a sudden what you think is nothing could be something more.’
Despite his fears, James is determined to find the answers he’s waited so long for.
Putting his faith into Dermatological Surgeon and skin superhero Dr Emma Craythorne, he plucks up the courage to book himself in for an appointment at Dr Emma’s Harley Street clinic.
‘I can kind of maybe see why you’re here,’ the expert says, as James sits himself down on the medical bed.
Inspecting the lumps, Dr Emma offers a confident spot diagnosis to put James’ worries to rest.
‘Gosh, it’s totally straining against the skin, it is desperate to come out,’ she says, as she prods and pokes at James’s bumps. ‘So these all do look like and feel like pilar cysts, so I’m not worried about them from a nasty lump point of view at all.’
Although it’s good news for James, it’s great news for Emma as she reveals that these are some of the biggest pilar cysts she has ever seen.
‘I really can’t wait to get in and get rid of them for you,’ she says.
After injecting the lumps with local anaesthetic, Dr Emma begins the procedure, starting by cutting into the red, angry-looking lump on James’s forehead.
Slicing into the cyst, Emma removes a wedge of skin before finding a path to the cyst wall.
‘So we’ll give it a squeeze now to see, but I think it might need both of us,’ Dr Emma says to her assistant Mottie.
As the pair squeeze James’s cyst, a gush of horrible, slimy pus seeps from the wound.
As the pair squeeze James’s cyst, a gush of horrible, slimy pus seeps from the wound. Pictured, removing James’ cyst
‘There’s a whole load of this gunk in here,’ Dr Emma says.
Cutting free the cyst wall, the expert lifts the sack out and shows it to James, who is feeling relieved already: ‘Oh wow, that thing is huge!’ he gasps.
But from there, things get even messier. Moving around to the side of James’s head, Dr Emma makes her second incision.
As she squeezes the bump, the cyst suddenly ruptures, squirting Dr Emma and her two assistants with putrid white pus.
‘I felt it pop!’ James says, to which Dr Emma jokes: ‘That was the money shot! It doesn’t happen that often that you would get an explosion, but in his case there was a bit of a weakening in the wall and I cut that a little bit with the scalpel, so when Mottie and I pressed it to get it out of the little hole it properly exploded!’
Carrying on with the surgery, she works her way all over James’s head, popping and removing all of his cysts.
‘It’s really runny!’ Dr Emma says, as she pops the bump on the back of James’s head.
With surgery complete, James looks into the mirror completely cyst-free and feeling like a new man.
‘I am feeling ecstatic that Dr Emma was able to help today,’ he says. ‘For the last 20 years, every morning I look in the mirror and I see the bumps, and now I don’t have to see them anymore.’