Marissa Brahney: Doctor Sandra Lee is one of America’s top dermatologists, and of course known for her hit TLC series, “Dr. Pimple Popper”. The latest season airing now showcases some of the most outrageous skin conditions and personal cases yet. She joins us now to tell us all about it. Welcome to the show!

Dr. Sandra Lee: Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to be here.

Justine Santaniello: Now in this season we hear that you bring in some specialists to help you. Is there a particularly complicated procedure this season that we should be looking out for?

Dr. Lee: Well there was one who just the-we just, um, we actually aired it this last couple weeks. We’ve been on for two weeks already, um, with our season, and uh it was a gentleman with a really large, um, growth on the back of his neck. It’s called acne keloidalis nuchae, and it’s-it’s just so large that the issue is-is in removal in this area-there’s a lot of issues in this area-but the removal i-it’s so big that you can’t close that side to side. Can you imagine if you have something so large here that you wanna sew it?  I mean how could you even lower your head right? Because you have to sew it together side to side so really I brought in a scalp surgeon expert, a dermatologist who specializes in scalp surgeries, and that was really nice, uh, to be able to ha-get his help because without him I don’t think we would have been able to successfully remove this, and he looks fantastic! We’re talking about Reggie, he looks so good and, um, it was hi-his wife was really his champion. I mean she fought for him. She-they have been looking for doctors to help for years, and uh, so she-not-you know she essentially knocked down my door she contacted me and I saw him and I thought, you know, this is really beyond me, uh, this is not something that I do on a regular basis, but I think I know the perfect person for you, so we got Dr. Umar on board which was really wonderful.

Marissa: So what would you say is the biggest lipoma you’ve ever removed?

Dr. Lee: Uh, I think we had one that was bigger than the average baby I-I want to say it was 11 pounds or something or maybe even higher than that. Uh, we-you know I would have to say the growths that can occur-that can grow the largest are lipomas because they don’t-they’re not contained really in a sac, so they can’t pop or burst. I think that a-a cyst for example, which is just like a-a kind of balloon under the skin that fills with just dead skin cells essentially, that can at some point I would think it grows to such a large size that it could, you know, just disintegrate or just kind of cause a lot of problems lead to like a-a-a-a really, you know, uncut, painful situation for the patient because if they could get an abscess, what we call an abscess. But a lipoma is really a benign collection of fat cells under the skin and it’s just-it’s almost like this little fat utopia it’s like these fat cells that grow and just want to stay with their own people and it just grows sometimes in some people it just grows and grows and can get out of control. But in that way that does not really pop or-or-or burst in any way.

Marissa: Alright a little insight here: how are the patients we see on the show chosen? Are they truly people who come to your practice, or are they vetted for the show?

Dr. Lee: Oh it’s a mix of both. I mean we certainly have patients that come into my office that, uh, we-we, uh, you know we ask them if they would be interested in being a part of the show and also though there’s, uh, casting. There are certainly people that are out there searching for, um, people for the show and I even have fellow dermatologists that recommend, um, patients for the show as well, so um we cast a pretty wide net I mean we’ve had people from other countries certainly from Canada, from the Philippines, um, that have come to see us and uh-uh yeah I-I think that it’s just i-it’s y-you get them really-you get people from everywhere and I think that the more that the show is on, uh, the more people hear about us, certainly the more people are interested in, um, that maybe seek out our help so.

Justine: So how has the pandemic affected you seeing your clients and also filming?

Dr. Lee: I mean it’s affected it in-in all the ways that it’s affected most of us who are, you know, working out there and working in-up close with other people, with strangers, you know people that are not in your little home unit, and uh you know there was a time where we were closed. There’s certainly a time where, um we-we came-we’re still not back to the same, um, degree as we were in the past because we still have a lot of precautions in our office. Um, and uh-and uh it definitely affected the way we were able to film the show. We had a zoom season last year and it wasn’t quite the same, you know and I think still now it’s not quite the same it was really important for me to have this sort of outdoor, um, greeting place with my-with my patients so that I could feel like everybody was as safe as we can be, but I could take off my mask and talk to people. That’s the one thing that makes it-the one major thing that makes it very difficult to connect with my patients and we all feel that way. I mean I know all of us that talk to somebody maybe in the supermarket or ask for help, you know, somewhere seeing somebody that is a stranger it’s very hard to connect with them and really see their emotions and really be able to relate to them if you have-if you can only see their eyes.

Justine: Dr. Sandra Lee thank you for being with us! We can not wait to keep watching. Now, “Dr. Pimple Popper” airs Mondays on TLC.

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