Dr Sandra Lee gets covered in a ‘Dijon mustard-like’ cyst substance after busting twins’ massive head bumps on Dr Pimple Popper.
Tonight’s episode of the TLC show focuses on fraternal twins Stacie and Tracie, from the US, who are similar in a very unusual way, in that both sisters have multiple large bumps growing on their heads.
Tracie’s bumps are larger than her sisters, visibly protruding out of her scalp at all angles.
‘I’ve had them for 15 years; I have a big golf ball-sized one behind my ear,’ Tracie says.
Tonight’s episode of Dr Pimple Popper focuses on fraternal twins Stacie (pictured, left) and Tracie (pictured, right), from the US, who both have multiple large bumps growing on their heads
Tracie’s bumps are larger than her sisters, visibly protruding out of her scalp at all angles. Pictured, having them removed by Dr Sandra Lee
Tracie explains that she’s had the ‘golf ball-sized lumps’ for over 15 years. Pictured, having them removed by Dr Pimple Popper
In contrast, Stacie has had her lumps for as long as she can remember, and admits that one lump in particular, located on the top of her scalp, often leaks.
‘The one of the back of my head has been big for as long as I can remember until it burst,’ she says. ‘That’s my geyser, I got a squirt gun on top of my head.’
As Stacie admits, she does her best to keep people from touching her head or playing with her hair over fear of the bump bursting again.
‘I never let anyone touch my head because it’ll pop, and it has an horrendous smell to it,’ she says.
As Tracie adds, the bumps on her head make sleeping difficult.
‘I literally sleep 93.7 per cent of the time straight on my back,’ she says, admitting that the bumps cause her pain and discomfort during the night.
Stacie (pictured) has had her lumps for as long as she can remember, and admits that one lump in particular, located on the top of her scalp, often leaks
But for all the physical pain the twins share, it pales in comparison to the social anxiety the bumps cause them.
‘When I put my hair up in a ponytail or a bun it really sticks out,’ Tracie explains. ‘People talk about it and it’s upsetting at times.’
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.
Stacie shares the same sentiment as her sister.
‘It makes me emotional when we’re in public to see people staring. I just feel bad.’
But for every cloud there is a silver lining, and the twins’ matching bumps has brought the them even closer together over the years.
In fact, the bond the two share is so strong, that they insist on making the removal of the bumps one more thing they do together.
‘We’re in this together, and it’s either we’re all in or we’re all out!’
Making the journey across California, Stacie and Tracie visit Dr Sandra Lee to see if they can have their giant scalp bumps removed for good.
After being assured by the sisters that she isn’t seeing double, the expert pops on a pair of gloves and inspects Stacie and Tracie’s heads.
‘I do think that these are probably pilar cysts but I’m going to have to take a closer look before I can make that call,’ she says.
Starting with Tracie, Dr Lee grabs hold of the massive, spherical lump behind her ear.
‘Yeah this is a nice big one here,’ Dr Lee says. ‘Tracie’s three bumps are bigger than I initially thought, but they are pretty soft and mobile.’
In contrast, there is some obvious scar tissue and trauma on Stacie’s bumps, which could complicate their removal.
‘Stacie has cysts that are older, they’ve leaked before so there’s probably some scar tissue, so they may be more difficult and complicated to remove,’ Dr Lee surmises.
Nevertheless, confident that both sisters are suffering from pilar cysts, the expert decides to give removing all six of the bumps a go, helping Stacie and Tracie to regain their confidence and get their lives back on track.
Even as she makes her first incision, Dr Lee knows that she’s in for a fight when it comes to Stacie’s cysts (pictured)
Straight in for surgery, Dr Lee starts by injecting Tracie – the sister with the bigger, more pronounced bumps – with a local anaesthetic.
Slicing into Tracie’s scalp, she manages to quickly rupture the first cyst, which begins to leak a putrid yellow liquid.
‘Eww, that looks like mustard. Dijon!’ a horrified Stacie squeals.
Snipping off the grape-like cyst sack, Dr Lee moves onto the next lump.
‘She’s got oatmeal in that one,’ she says, cutting into cyst two, before the cyst starts fighting back, squirting Dr Lee with its rotten contents.
Finally, after removing the third cyst, Tracie’s 15 years of having a bumpy head are behind her.
Next up, it’s Stacie’s turn, and even as she makes her first incision, Dr Lee knows that she’s in for a fight.
‘I just got started with Stacie’s cysts and I can already see that there’s a problem,’ she says. ‘I think there is a lot of scar tissue here.’
Battling away, Dr Lee slowly scrapes the cyst contents out of Stacie’s head. Thankfully, through perseverance and hard work, Dr Lee manages to remove all of the cyst gunk and move onto the next bump.
Slicing into Tracie’s scalp, Dr Lee manages to quickly rupture Tracie’s first cyst, which begins to leak a putrid yellow liquid (pictured)
‘Hers is a little more like putty,’ Dr Lee says as she plucks out yet more gunk from Stacie’s head.
‘Stacie, I don’t know if you’re going to be as smart when she’s done with you,’ Tracie jokes. ‘Your brains are coming out!’
As Dr Lee has found with her two patients, cysts can vary from patient to patient.
‘The consistency of cysts can be different, I think that the ones that have been manipulated a lot, the fact that Stacie has really squeezed stuff out of them before, is the reason these are so stuck to her,’ she explains.
But not long after, Dr Lee is forced to eat her words. Cutting into Stacie’s third and final cyst, she inadvertently releases a jet stream of liquid pus, which splats on the wall of her operating theatre!
‘It is that kind of day,’ she sighs, making light of the situation.
Continuing to squeeze, Dr Lee removes the last horrible, gristly bit of tissue from the wound, and stitches Stacie up. Leaving the clinic all bandaged up, the twins can’t thank Dr Lee enough.
‘The embarrassing moments, people looking at me, not being able to wear my hair up, now that’s a weight lifted off of my shoulders which I don’t have to worry about anymore,’ Tracie concludes. ‘Sisters that spray together, stay together!’
Dr Pimple Popper airs at 10pm on Thursdays exclusively on TLC, and stream on discovery+