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Editor's note: This post contains graphic images of dermatological conditions and the procedures used to treat them.
During the third episode of season 3 of "Dr. Pimple Popper," Dr. Lee treated a woman named Rhonda who had seven growths all over her head.
One of the growths at the top of Rhonda's scalp resembled a toenail, and Dr. Lee was concerned it might be cancerous.
In the end, Dr. Lee was able to drain and remove all seven cysts, including the "toenail," which was cancer-free.
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On the third episode of season 3 of "Dr. Pimple Popper," dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee met a patient named Rhonda, who had seven cysts on her head, including one that resembled a toenail.
Rhonda, whose last name wasn't disclosed, is a 53-year-old woman from Orlando, Florida. She told Dr. Lee that she'd seen many doctors over the years, but all of them said that in order to treat her they would have to shave her entire head. For that reason, Rhonda never went through with treatment.
She said the "toenail" bump on the top of her scalp was particularly concerning because it opened up and then scabbed over. It "smells like something rotten," Rhonda said.
To hide her bumps, Rhonda said she took extra care to style her hair. In fact, she revealed that she'd hidden her bumps from most of her family members and only told her daughter about a few of them. "Thank God for side parts and big hair," she said.
During the episode, Rhonda is seen finally telling her daughter Meagan about just how many bumps she had, and Meagan urges her to see Dr. Lee to make sure the bumps aren't cancerous.
Dr. Lee was able to drain the largest cyst without cutting Rhonda's hair
At first, Dr. Lee was surprised to see Rhonda in her office because her hair hid all of her growths. Once Rhonda showed the dermatologist her seven growths, however, Dr. Lee said she was shocked by the quantity of them and that the toenail growth was especially startling.
To treat Rhonda, Dr. Pimple Popper first worked on the biggest bump, which she identified as a keloid cyst. Keloid cysts are growths made out of scar tissue that form after the skin has been wounded and healed. (It's unclear how Rhonda developed hers). The scar tissue can expand and grow, creating large growths like the one Rhonda had. Although the growths aren't usually harmful to a person's health, they can cause discomfort because they're tender, according to Healthline.
Read more: Watch Dr. Pimple Popper drain a bloody cyst that reminded her of Shamu the whale
After giving Rhonda a local anesthetic, Dr. Lee cut the bump open in the middle with a surgical knife. To finish treating the keloid, Dr. Lee carefully opened the incision she made and used scissors to cut the cyst out of the skin part of the bump.
The toenail-looking bump on Rhonda's head was a bit more difficult to remove
First, Dr. Pimple Popper used her fingers to examine the part of the cyst that looked like a toenail, then she used a knife to slice around the perimeter of that part. But when Dr. Lee went to pull the growth out of Rhonda's head, she said it felt "stuck" in place there. "This thing is rock hard," Dr. Lee said. "That's a hoof."
Eventually, Dr. Lee was able to use scissors and her own strength to remove the "toenail."
Following the removal, Dr. Lee sent a tissue sample from the area into a lab to make sure it wasn't cancerous. Eight weeks after the procedure, Dr. Lee told Rhonda the toenail growth wasn't cancerous; it was just a pilar cyst, or flesh-colored skin bump that's filled with keratin protein. According to Healthline, these bumps are typically benign but might cause some people pain and require surgery to remove.
As for Rhonda, she's just happy she didn't have to shave her head to get proper treatment.
You can watch previous episodes of the "Dr. Pimple Popper" series on the app and TLC's website. New episodes of "Dr. Pimple Popper" air every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST on TLC.
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