Emotional Ups and Downs After Plastic Surgery

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
Article by
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

For many patients, plastic surgery is a life-changing experience, both physically and mentally. Many people considering surgery to improve their looks do not realize that they may also experience some emotional ups and downs. There are a number of positive psychological benefits that contribute to the patient’s boost in confidence and self-esteem. However, some adverse emotional side effects may also be involved, such as depression and anxiety.

Cosmetic surgery can be very exciting, yet, frustrating at the same time. Some may find the process a pleasant one, while others find it stressful. People find it difficult to find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon they are comfortable with and who they feel they can trust with this major change. Anxiety may occur prior to the surgery and during recovery while patient’s try to patiently wait for their final results. Post-surgical depression is common, especially among patients with personality disorders, relationship issues, and lacking confidence.

Before undergoing any cosmetic procedure, it is important to keep a positive attitude. Having realistic expectations for your plastic surgery experience is crucial to having a positive mindset later. The purpose of plastic surgery is to improve a specific problem area of your body. There is no guarantee the results of your surgery will change your life.
 
Discussing your expectations and goals with your surgeon will ensure the best results possible. This communication allows your doctor to help achieve your goals. Make sure you discuss what your expectations are with your surgeon. It is best to express all your concerns prior to the procedure so that he/she may address them to help ease the process. A Board Certified Surgeon will discuss the best and safest option for your specific case

It is in your best interest to discuss your medical history with your doctor. Cosmetic surgery can either be minor or invasive and in any case, your surgeon should be aware of all medical conditions that may affect your surgery or healing.

Once you decide on a plastic surgeon and the planned procedure, it is vital for you to prepare for your recovery period. It is best that you are aware of what to expect after surgery and understand the pre-op and post-op instructions to ensure the best result possible. For example, swelling and bruising is a normal part of the healing process, pain and discomfort can be managed with medications, physical activity should be limited to promote healing and rest, and it is essential for you to have a good support system.

Remember that all of these contributing factors to post-surgical depression or anxiety is temporary. With tincture of time, the incisions will heal and your results will improve. When times get tough, communicate your concerns during your follow-ups with your doctor and keep the end result in mind.