Derrick Pistorius, a 42-year-old mathematics teacher from the US, underwent rhinoplasty to get a nose like Hollywood actor Johnny Depp at New Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital last week. He went to cosmetic surgeons carrying pictures and CDs of Depp’s character Jack Sparrow for their reference.
He had been told he bore a close resemblance to Jack Sparrow, played by Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. However, his bulbous nose, as opposed to Sparrow’s sharp one, played a spoiler.
Pistorius first heard of Depp in 2011 when one of his high school students pointed out the resemblance.
“Other students agreed. So the first thing I did when I got back home is to watch the Pirates of the Caribbean series. I closely watched Depp’s character Jack Sparrow and put together the costumes he wore in the film,” says Pistorius.
Since then, his life changed for the better, he says. He started making money by dressing up like Sparrow and performing at bars, weddings and even on the streets of Las Vegas and Hawaii.
“I was quite popular and was surprised when people approached me for acting assignments. My nose, however, stood out,” he says.
“Rhinoplasty and Liposuction — suction-assisted fat removal — are the two most common cosmetic procedures done in India. In our hospital we do about 10 rhinoplasties in a month,” says Dr Vivek Kumar, consultant plastic surgeon, Ganga Ram Hospital, who performed the surgery on Pistorius.
The term rhinoplasty is derived from the German rhinoplastik, which means changing the shape of the nose. It is a surgical procedure used to make the nose larger or smaller; change its angle in relation to the upper lip; alter the tip; or correct humps, indentations, or other defects.
Depending on the result desired, some bone and cartilage may be removed, or tissue may be added either from another part of the body or using synthetic filler.
The bandage on the nose is usually kept for a week or 10 days and it takes some amount of time for the swelling to subside. However, it may take several months or a year before the final results of the surgery are visible.
Apart from looking like Sparrow, what prompted Pistorius to opt for nose reconstruction was also a skin condition called Rosacea. Those affected with Rosacea have redness on the cheeks, chin, nose or forehead. In severe cases, the nose gets swollen and bumpy from excess tissue, which is what happened to Pistorius.
“My father and uncles had Rosacea, and when I saw myself developing symptoms, I decided to look for ways to stop it. It may sound like I walked into the plastic surgeon’s chamber asking for a Jack Sparrow-like nose but in reality I had a legitimate medical reason and looking like Depp is an added bonus,” he says.
Dr Ajay Kashyap, director, department of plastic surgery, Fortis group, says, “We are very careful in choosing our patients as the first requirement is to psychologically assess the person. The person should be mentally sound with no complexities. You can’t use enhancing your looks as a solution to all your life’s problems and hope life changes miraculously overnight.”
Next requirement is that the expectations of the person should be real and not unreasonable, apart from other requirements of a surgery like controlled hypertension, diabetes etc.
“The obsession is usually found in men,” says Dr Kashyap.
In Pistorius’ case, however, doctors were convinced about the reason. He will take about a month to recover, which he plans to spend in Thailand, after which he will come back for cheek implants.
“My nose is thinner and the hump on the bridge is gone. It always helps professionally if you have smoother and tighter skin that makes you look more presentable,” says Pistorius, who intends to join the Disneyland that is being planned in China as Jack Sparrow.