When a Spoon Is a Surgical Instrument

When a Spoon Is a Surgical Instrument

Take comfort in the distance in this long shot; it’s keeping the hell ahead of us at bay.

You know you’ve got a hell of a Dr. Pimple Popper case on your hands when a wicked bout of rhinophyma and a butt bump the size of a strawberry pale in comparison. So let’s shuffle through those quickly before we get to, sigh, one of the most upsetting things I’ve watched on television in quite a while, possibly ever. I feel irreparably changed after watching this episode.

Stephen, 41 and from Hubbard, Ohio, had the rhinophyma.


As someone who appears on camera regularly as the host of a show about retro gaming, his nose was the subject of ridicule from strangers on the internet. His case of rhinophyma, according to Dr. Lee, was distinguished by its anterior projection, a “Pinocchio nose, kind of.” Anyway, she shaved it down with her electrocautery too and voilà:


Take that, commenters.

Veronica, a 41-year-old from San Jacinto, California, developed a bump “where my buttcrack starts.”


The protrusion created a case of perma-plumber butt.


Veronica’s ability to freely be herself was complicated by her bump. “I feel like I’m not normal,” she said. She came out as gay about a year before filming, and yet her bump made her feel like she was still in hiding. Her complete coming-out process required the amputation of the lump that had nestled between her cheeks.

“I’m not fully comfortable with who I am yet,” she said. “I want to take care of this bump and just get rid of it and come out as me all the way.” This is another one of those astonishing, rather specific facets of the human condition that only a show such as Dr. Pimple Popper could facilitate sharing with the world at large. Breathtaking.

It was a fairly simple removal, though it gave Dr. PP the opportunity to proclaim (with a more or less straight face), “We all deserve a nice, straight butt crack.” Amen, sister. After her procedure, Veronica said, “This was my last secret, per se, and the secret is out.” Well, have a great identity, girl.

And then there was Marty. Fifty-one, from Edgewood, Texas, and with a 30-year-old lump on his shoulder. It “busted” 10 years ago but “it didn’t smell or anything.” Nor did it go away.


In infomercial-fail fashion, Marty was depicted having a hard time plumbing, something he used to do a lot.


Marty had harrowing ideas of what could broadly be described as self-care.

“I’ve thought about just getting a tequila and taking care of it myself,” he said. “It’s just I don’t know how deep I need to cut it.” If that image doesn’t make you woozy, try on this: About five days before he visited Dr. Lee, his bump popped supposedly on its own and “blew a half-dollar size hole in my arm.”


Marty’s was an epidermoid cyst, and it was so old that Dr. PP suspected that some of it would be liquified and thus its borders would be hard to make out. On the opposite end of the disgusting-texture scale, parts of the cyst were so old that they had the texture of cartilage. At one point, Dr. Lee asked for a spoon so that she could take out Marty’s pus…like yogurt. A spoon. A spoon. Gag me with it! (But please clean off Marty’s shoulder cream first.)

Marty kicked and grunted throughout the procedure, which made Dr. Lee uncertain as to whether she was hurting him. What undoubtedly complicated matters is that Marty grunted a lot in general; basically after every sentence in his interviews and then some. Finally, Dr. PP asked if Marty wanted to go outside for a smoke to calm his nerves in the middle of a procedure—a first for this show and, according to Dr. Lee, for her practice altogether.

While he was gone, Dr. Lee discussed the texture of Marty’s pus with her tech—flan and crème brûlée were invoked. That’s just lovely and delicious. Marty eventually returned more “relaxed,” and Dr. Lee completed the procedure. Marty did not participate in an update package. “It’s been about three months since I’ve seen Marty,” Dr. Lee reported in voiceover. “I haven’t been able to get ahold of him, but I’m guessing that this means he has no issues with the cyst growing back and he’s out there somewhere celebrating with tequila.” Yeah! Let’s go with that!

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