Dr Pimple Popper: Man has 20-year-old 'neck testicle' lipoma

Man forced to adjust his sleeping routine out of fear his 20-year-old ‘neck testicle’ will block off his airway finally has it removed by Dr Pimple Popper

  • John, from US, has been living with large bump on his neck for over two decades
  • Told how it started off as the size of a golf ball but then started just getting larger
  • Finally has it removed on tonight’s episode of TLC’s Dr Pimple Popper

A man with an enormous 20-year-old ‘neck testicle’ lipoma had it removed from his throat on Dr Pimple Popper.

Tonight’s episode of the TLC show focuses on grandfather-of-one John, from the US, who has been living with a gigantic spherical bump on his neck for the best part of two decades.

Looking like a grapefruit in a handkerchief, John’s lump dangles down from the bottom of his chin to the top of his throat. 

‘My bump first showed up shortly after me and my wife got married, about 19 years ago,’ John explains. ‘I’d been shaving and I noticed there was a knot that had starting forming, it felt like the size of a golf ball, then it started getting larger.’  

In tonight’s episode of TLC’s Dr Pimple Popper, grandfather-of-one John (pictured), from the US, explains how he’s been living with a gigantic spherical bump on his neck for the best part of two decades

Like something out of a sci-fi film, Dr Lee wrestles with the stubborn mass, trying to tease it out. Pictured, John during the procedure

Over the past two decades, John’s lump has grown into a squishy, tennis-ball sized mass protruding from the front of his neck. 

The lump is so big that John has even had to adjust his sleeping routine out of fear that it will block off his airway. 

‘I cannot sleep in my own bed at night, I’m sleeping on the couch,’ he says, explaining how he prompts himself up using the arm of the sofa. 

‘If I lay too flat it changes the sound of my voice, I can feel it where it just lays flat on my windpipe; it feels like the bump is cutting off my airway.’ 

Despite his health now being a real concern, John admits that he is skeptical of Midwestern doctors. 

‘I went to a physician that wanted to perform surgery on it, he told me they could cut the wrong vessel and I could be possibly be paralysed on one side of my face,’ he reveals. ‘That kind of scared me away, so I just let it go.’ 

Looking like a grapefruit in a handkerchief, John’s lump dangles down from the bottom of his chin to the top of his throat. Pictured, with Dr Sandra Lee

Enough is enough for John (pictured), who is determined to take back control of his life

Getting emotional, John praises the support he has received from his wife, children and loving granddaughter over the past few years of his life, but admits that some members of his family haven’t been so kind. 

‘My extended family, I don’t see eye-to-eye with them,’ John says. ‘I get tired of being made fun of. They’ve said it “looks like your nuts are hanging off your chin!”‘ 

Enough is enough for John, who is determined to take back control of his life. 

‘I’ve got to get this off me so I can get my life back,’ he says defiantly.

With that, John turns to Dermatological Surgeon Dr Sandra Lee to see if she can remove the massive lump on his neck that has plagued him for 20 years. 

‘I am very excited to be here today,’ John explains, arriving at the California clinic. ‘I don’t trust the Midwest doctors. This is it, I’m not having another doctor touch me.’ 

Outside in her COVID-adapted waiting room, the expert gets straight down to business, checking out John’s neck lump. 

‘This is quite a little handful there,’ Dr Lee says, squeezing John’s neck bulge. 

The lump is so big that John says he’s even had to adjust his sleeping routine out of fear that it will block off his airway (pictured)

Over the past two decades, John’s lump has grown into a squishy, tennis-ball sized mass protruding from the front of his neck (pictured)

Straight away, Dr Lee thinks she might know what the problem is. 

‘John has what I believe is a large lipoma right in the middle of his neck, and there are a lot of important vessels that go to our head and back to our heart, like your jugular,’ she explains. ‘There are many ways that you could really threaten somebody’s life with a little slip of the scalpel.’ 

WHAT IS A LIPOMA?

Lipomas are non-cancerous lumps caused by an overgrowth of fat cells.

They can form anywhere on the body, but are most common on the neck, shoulders, abdomen and back.

They are usually just under the skin, shaped like a dome and soft to touch.

They occur in about one in every 1,000 people in the US. and about one in 100 people in the UK.

Doctors are unsure of what causes lipomas, but believe it may be due to an inherited faulty gene or physical trauma

Most do not cause any pain unless they are deep in the body and press on nerves or organs.

If a lipoma affects the bowels, it may cause constipation and nausea.

Most lipomas do not need removing, but surgery may be necessary if the growth is large, causing symptoms or unsightly.

Source: Cleveland Clinic

Nevertheless, the professional decides to press ahead and prepares her operating theatre. 

However, things take an unexpected turn when John admits he’s able to manipulate the lump by tensing his jaw. 

Worried that the lipoma could be underneath a muscle – an area that Dr Lee does not clinically deal with – she consults John’s CT scan and attempts to get in touch with his radiologist. But it’s bad news. 

Unable to get hold of John’s radiologist, she tells John she won’t be able to operate on him until she is comfortable that the lipoma isn’t trapped beneath the muscle. 

‘Yeah it kind of makes you a little depressed, but you know what, I’m going to trust her,’ John says.  

Returning to the clinic a few days later, an anxious John awaits the verdict from Dr Lee. 

‘The radiologist was nice enough to go in and look at the CT scan that you had,’ the expert starts. 

‘He did think that it is under the platysma muscle. I don’t remove anything under the muscle.’ 

It looks like devastating news for John, until Dr Lee backtracks. 

‘But, the platysma is very superficial, I’m willing to give it a try in the safest way possible.’ 

Happy to put his trust in Dr Lee, it’s back to the operating room, where John’s neck is numbed with local anaesthetic. 

‘This is the golden moment, so to speak,’ Dr Lee says, making her incision into the front of John’s neck. 

‘I think I see something underneath there, I hope I see something,’ she continues, gently prodding around under John’s neck skin. Getting sight of the lipoma, Dr Lee starts to slowly remove it. 

‘John’s lipoma is visible such under the surface, which is a great relief,’ she says. ‘I just don’t know how deep this is going and I don’t know what it’s attached to.’ 

John turns to Dermatological Surgeon Dr Sandra Lee (pictured) to see if she can remove the massive lump on his neck that has plagued him for 20 years

Frustratingly, the lipoma isn’t going without a fight. So as not to disturb the important vessel in John’s neck, Dr Lee opts to remove it piece by piece, snipping away at the fatty orange tissue. 

Like something out of a sci-fi film, Dr Lee wrestles with the stubborn mass, trying to tease it out. 

‘I’m trying to remove John’s lipoma, but the bottom part is still stuck to something deeper, so every time I snip a little bit of it, the part that I don’t snip off gets pulled back in,’ Dr Lee says. ‘If I can’t get all of this out, John is still going to be left with some kind of bump.’ 

Happily, the expert’s perseverance pays off, as she removes the last of the lipoma. Closing up John’s neck wound, she then hands him a mirror so he can look at himself, lump-free after two decades.

‘Hot damn, I look damn good now! It’s flat, it’s not this circle, it’s not this bulge, it’s not hanging down, it’s gone!’ a gleeful John says. ‘I’ll be going more places, we’ll be doing more things as a family. 

‘I came here today thinking that this was never going to happen and she found it, it was hiding!’ 

Dr Pimple Popper airs at 10pm Thursdays exclusively on TLC, and stream on discovery+

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