Ask Dr. Phil: Michael

Nose Job Nightmare

Warning: This story contains graphic content.

"I had a nose job, and my face was ruined. The tip turned black and rotted off," Michael says. "I had had a primary nose job a couple of years ago. I wasn't completely satisfied with the original results. I found the doctor online. This was a world-renowned surgeon. I went to Dallas, Texas, to have a secondary rhinoplasty. It was an eight-hour operation. I didn't start to panic completely until I got home."

Michael recorded himself on home video after his second surgery. "This is one week and four days. Here's the front of my nose with some skin loss here. See: scabbing." He tips his head back and shows the black area underneath. "Mostly this is what I'm worried about. We'll see what happens," he says.

"But the nose just continued to get blacker and blacker and blacker," Michael recalls. "The doctor in Dallas, after things started going wrong, became very rude and evasive. He did call me back and said that he would give me $15,000 back, but I would have to sign a piece of paper saying that I wouldn't sue."


Michael found another doctor. "I found a reconstruction guy in Chicago to help me use forehead material to patch up the hole in my nose," he says.

In another home video, Michael has a flap of skin hanging from his forehead down to the tip of his nose. "OK, I am back from surgery. This is what they had to do. It absolutely hurts too. I can't even touch it right there," he says.

Michael documented his painful healing along the way. "I still have more surgeries to go. I'm worried I'm disfigured beyond fixing," he says. "Now, I'm just mad at the way it was handled, so I built a Web site. The Web site is my side of the story. In my opinion, I think it's time for this doctor to retire."

"So, you did not have a good result. How do you feel about it now?" Dr. Phil asks Michael.

"Well, it's been about six months since they removed the forehead flap, and I have a vertical scar that runs up that will never go away, and I've got a patch, like a quilt, of skin on my nose, and the undercarriage; it has still got some surgeries to go, so we'll have to see," he says.

"So, are you going to do some additional surgeries?"

"Yeah, I'm not staying like this," Michael says.

"It was the second surgery where the result was so bad," Dr. Phil notes. "Did you really need that? Because you made the comment, ‘I realize that a lot of people could've lived with what I had before I did it.'"

"Yeah, it was a little crooked for me, and I was still having some breathing problems, so I went with a world-renowned guy that specifically does secondary rhinoplasties. That's his gig. That's what he does," he says.

"He gave us his side of the story in all of this, and I have to say, it sounds to me like he was very attentive," Dr. Phil says. "Did you not like his personality? Or did you not like his work? Did he explain to you that there were risks before he did this?"

"Not risks like this," Michael explains. "He made me feel very comfortable, and I found him online and did some research for about a year. And all of his work looked fantastic. I just think that it was over-built, and some other things might've happened. You won't find a lot of this online, but you have to research it. They do skin-thinning, cauterization, all of these can cause necrosis. Not just the norms like diabetics, smokers, circulation problems. There is another side to necrosis also."

Dr. Phil asks about Michael's actions against the Dallas plastic surgeon. "You went to him and said that you wanted him to settle with you. Did you ask him for a half million dollars?"

"Yes, I did at first because, you know, my whole face was gone," he says.

"So you said to him, ‘I'm going to start this Web site if you don't pay me a half million dollars,'" Dr. Phil says.

"Well, I'm going to let the world know what happened to me, under my First Amendment rights," he says. "I e-mailed him back though, and I said, ‘Look, I will settle for surgery fees and everything else. Let's just settle this across the board.'" Michael has not sued the doctor for malpractice. "I've talked to some lawyers, but it's kind of difficult. He's a very well-known doctor. He's got a lot of power. He's one of the top three or four in the world known for these secondary rhinoplasties, and I'm just a guy from Alabama trying to go up against the guns."

Dr. Phil reads a statement from the doctor who performed Michael's second procedure. "He says, ‘I give every patient what I believe to be the best method of treatment and go to great lengths to explain both the risks and benefits involved. Secondary rhinoplasty is one of the most complex and difficult procedures in plastic surgery. These patients are likely to be unhappy with previous surgeries and are seeking additional improvements to a nose that is already compromised in some fashion. Nevertheless, secondary rhinoplasty is a specialty of my practice. I'm quite proud of the satisfied patients that I've had during the past 30 years and how my expertise has been honored and recognized by my professional colleagues.' And you acknowledge that this guy is not some hack?" he asks.

"Right. That's why I went to him," Michael says.

Dr. Phil continues. "‘I deeply regret that Michael had such disappointing results, but also how he has chosen to misrepresent many of the facts in this surgery and subsequent care. Throughout his course of treatment and follow-up, I am confident that Michael received exemplary care from me and my staff, together with referrals and evaluations from other leaders in the field of plastic surgery.'"

"That's his statement and side of the story. But I'm curious " It almost sounds like blackmail to say, ‘Give me $500,000 or I'm going to start this Web site,'" Dr. Phil says. 

"Well, I was really mad at that point," Michael admits. "I mean, I had a hole in my nose completely."

"I don't blame you," Dr. Phil says. "But weren't you blackmailing the guy? Aren't there legal remedies for this? Can't you just go file a malpractice suit?"

"I had some other people telling me to sue for millions or try to settle with this doctor," he says.

"You might have a case or you might not, but he says he did everything he possible could to help get this thing moved forward. If you knew what you now know before you had this surgery done the very first time, would you have done it?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Absolutely not," Michael says.

"It can go wrong," Dr. Phil says, looking pointedly at his previous guest, Amanda.

"Right," Michael agrees.