Cosmetic Surgery Videos

Michael Jackson: internal nasal valve collapse and breathing problems

Procedure Rhinoplasty
Length of video 4:32

In this video, to present a cautionary tale for those seeking perfection from their cosmetic surgery results, I discuss how rhinoplasty can become an uneasy marriage between beauty and oxygen supply by looking at Michael Jackson's changing appearance and breathing problems.

While some talk of a rare lung condition circulated for a time, I think the more obvious explanation, as many people have said, is that his nose 'collapsed' after too many surgeries. More specifically, that he suffered from internal nasal valve collapse in his pursuit of the 'perfect' nose.

Using charts, diagrams, photos, and video clips I illustrate how the supporting structures of the nose work and what it means to have a 'collapsed nose.' In Michael Jackson's case, the septum may have been affected, but it did not collapse. If anything, his septum looks too straight, too thin, and too high for an African American. What I really think happened in his case is called internal nasal valve collapse.

The lower lateral cartilage has a curved shape to keep the nostril open and when you thin it too much, it can buckle at the tip where the lower lateral cartilage and the upper lateral cartilage meet the septum. This acts like a valve and when it buckles, it is hard for air to go through. As you try to breathe harder, it collapses even more.

Michael Jackson likely had years of breathing problems due to internal nasal valve collapse which, for a singer, creates even more complications as it forces you to breathe through your mouth and can cause chronic irritation of the throat and lungs. Patients should take heed that perfection can be a dangerous pursuit in plastic surgery.

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