Artie Lange is in serious danger of having breathing problems if he doesn't get his deformed nose fixed sooner rather than later … but Dr. Paul Nassif first needs Artie to reach a major milestone in his sobriety.
We talked to the star M.D. from "Botched" and he tells TMZ … Artie's saddle nose — due to drug use and a bookie's fist — could possibly trigger a lot of sinus infections because of the severe nasal obstruction.
The dangers are serious … for instance, the doc says Artie could develop bronchitis from being forced to breath through his mouth, which would cause an irritation to his upper lungs. Plain and simple … Artie's gotta get his nose in tip-top shape, but first and foremost comes his sobriety.
Nassif says Artie's gotta be at least 1-year sober for several reasons … the main point being that if he were to unfortunately relapse, the side effects of an elective surgery could be even worse.
As we first reported … Artie said he was down to get it fixed but also said his collapsed nose was a necessary reminder of darker times. Artie's kept his sense of humor throughout this ordeal … saying he's the opposite of Pinocchio, "Every time I lie my nose got smaller."
For what it's worth … Artie's now 8 months sober, and even with the damaged schnoz, looking better than he has in a long time.