Surgeons' Verdict Grim on
Michael Jackson's Nose

By Deena Beasley

The face -
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A rare courtroom appearance by "King of Pop" Michael Jackson in a breach-of-contract lawsuit this week has the whole country rendering a judgment on his looks -- especially on whether he went through one nose-job too many.
And as far as plastic surgeons are concerned, the public might be right.
"His nose is more collapsed than it ever was. That's also consistent with the fact he's been walking around wearing surgical masks in recent times," Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Fleming said on Friday.
"I would never go back and do work on Michael Jackson's nose ... it is just too risky," he added.
Fleming said that with each nose job, the blood circulation to the area decreases and the risks of scarring and infection increase.
"I think he has accepted it (the nose). He is almost a fantasy figure or a cartoon character," said Dr Edward Domanskis, a Newport Beach, Calif., plastic surgeon.
"At the age of 40, people don't act or look that way," he added. Domanskis said it looked like Jackson had at least five nose jobs and "There had to be some complications along the way."
Jackson returned on Friday to a courthouse in Santa Maria -- the central California town nearest to his Neverland Valley ranch -- for a third day of testimony in a $21 million lawsuit which accuses him of pulling out of two millennium concerts.
The entertainer's testimony has been overshadowed by his bizarre off-stage appearance, captured in media photographs on Wednesday. The close-up photographs, which caused an Internet stir, depicted an eyeliner-and-lipstick-wearing Jackson with a stubbly goatee, a clear, Band-Aid-type plaster on his scarred nose and a wild mane of black, silky hair.
News photographers snapped the photos in court, after Superior Court Judge Zel Canter told Jackson to remove the surgical mask he was wearing. His appearance prompted gasps from the courtroom audience, which included media and about 30 fans who won a seating lottery.
The next day, Jackson showed up for court four hours late and appeared drowsy. The nose plaster had either been removed, or was covered by heavy make-up.
"He's got kind of a shrunken skin, but it is impossible to speculate on how it happened," said Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Laurie Casas, chairwoman of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery's communications commission.
She said Jackson could be suffering from a rare psychiatric condition, called body dysmorphic disorder, in which patients are dissatisfied with surgical results, regardless of any objective improvement in their appearance.
"You have to wonder how someone has gotten into a situation where they look very abnormal," Casas said, emphasizing that the vast majority of plastic surgery candidates have much more realistic expectations.
She also said Jackson's apparent goal of honing his once broad, flat African-American nose into a perkier nose is out of step with current fashion.
"In the 50s, 60s and 70s everyone got a cookie-cutter nose, but now people don't want to change their ethnicity. They just want a nose that fits their face," the plastic surgeon said.
"What he's done is to go from a Negroid or black nose, which is round and broad and flat, to a Caucasian nose that's narrow and projecting," Dr. Harvey Zarem, a former chief of plastic surgery at the University of California at Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Times.
"To do that, you have to put cartilage or silicone or bone in the nose like a tent stake to make the nose stick out. But when you do that enough, the cartilage or silicone or bone pokes through."
Beverly Hills surgeon Fleming said much of the work on Jackson's nose appears to have been done by a single doctor.
"I do see people who want repeated surgeries, but you can't operate on them. If Roseanne Barr comes in wanting to look like J-Lo, I can't help her," he said.


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