Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Emotional Ups and Downs After Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery will not only affect your body, but it can also affect your mind, and this may not necessarily be a positive thing. Anticipation of the surgery, while exciting, can also be draining and stressful. If you are used to seeing your particular flaw every day, as much as you may not have liked it, its disappearance after plastic surgery may leave you disappointed and sad. In addition, family members may notice that the flaw is gone, and their hesitation to approve of your decision to remove it may make you uncomfortable. Lastly, the bruising and swelling, as well as overall pain and discomfort, may add to your depression.

Depression after surgery is nothing new. In fact, the symptoms are similar to post partum depression. Disapproval from others, whether verbal or non-verbal, can make you feel angry and alone. Long stares from strangers can do the same. By the same token, the results can feel positive as opposed to negative.

Those who are prone to depression and anxiety, as well as personality disorders, are more likely to experience postoperative depression. Many plastic surgeons provide pre- and postoperative counseling to help their patients make the transition, no matter how minor the surgery.

Confidence in Oneself

While plastic surgery can help improve self esteem, you must have a positive image of yourself before you ever undergo a procedure. Ideal candidates do not believe their lives will change completely for the better after surgery; they think positively about themselves in general, and see plastic surgery as a way to eliminate a flaw or problem area.

Great Expectations

Having realistic expectations for your plastic surgery experience is crucial to having a positive mindset later. Remember, the point of plastic surgery is to improve a specific area of your body. It will not necessarily change your life, although this is often a pleasant side effect.

In a study done in 2005, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons noted that 75 percent of the respondents stated that they chose the procedure for an improvement in appearance and a more active lifestyle. The same percentage felt they had many more emotional and psychological rewards after the procedure. 45 percent also noted that they felt more attractive, and felt that they were benefited by it.

Important Things To Know

Make sure you discuss what your expectations are with your doctor. This will help you and your doctor synthesize your information, and keep you from developing unrealistic ideas about your surgery. Your doctor will also be able to discuss different procedures with you that may give you the results you want. It is important to distinguish between liposuction and a tummy tuck, and your doctor can help you make that kind of clarification. This kind of communication can help you figure out exactly what type of surgery you need to get your desired look.

In addition, you should go over your medical information with your doctor. Cosmetic surgery can be as small as cutting off a skin tag or as major as a facelift; it is in your best interest to give your doctor as much information as you can so he can do the best job possible. In addition, your doctor may need to know some important information that you may not think is important. Do you have sleep apnea? Are you a heavy bleeder? Do you have a family history of circulation problems? Answering these questions may not mean you are disqualified from surgery, but your honest responses could very well keep you alive on the operating table.

Patients who may be subject to great emotional changes will be screened by the plastic surgeons during their first consultation. Again, if you show signs of this, you may still be able to get surgery, but you may also be given a few precautionary measures to keep you safe.

For those who are a high risk, the surgeon may recommend counseling before agreeing to do surgery. These would include:

  • Patients going through divorce or other severe psychological stress may not be ready for surgery at that time,
  • Patients with a desire to look “perfect” may also not be ready.
  • Patients with mental issues will need to have their psychologist and their surgeon working as a team in order to qualify. This will not only consist of an evaluation of the patient’s mental stability, but any medications taken before or after the surgery.

These precautions may seem time consuming and pointless, but as the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It is better for the doctor to be fully prepared going into surgery than to have him attempt to rectify a potentially deadly situation.