Breast Augmentation for Patient with Prone to Severe Anxiety?

Does the swelling and weight of new Breast implants cause some patients prone to anxiety to have severe anxiety?

I have had to cancel surgery to start taking Lexapro to help prevent future panic attacks post surgery. Two days before my surgery date, I had a severe panic attack and had to change the date. I was wondering if you ever hear of anyone with this problem?

I am not scared of the pain, its the thought of swelling on my chest. Please help me to know if I am the only one with this problem. Thanks.

Doctor Answers 11

Breast Augmentation and Panic Attacks

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It is absolutely normal to feel varying degrees of anxiety and aprehension prior to any surgery, especially elective procedures. If this is severe enough to prevent you from doing the surgery, then it may be in your interest to get counselling before you schedule the procedure. Your surgeon may be able to allow you to speak to other patients that have gone through breast augmentation before, and that can be very helpful. Often, it's also useful to speak with the anesthesiologist several days prior to your procedure so he/ she can allay your fears regarding the anesthetic component of the procedure.

Once the implants are in, I don't think that your anxiety would be any worse because of the implants.

New York Plastic Surgeon

Breast Augmentation for Patient with Prone to Severe Anxiety?

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Anxiety prior to surgery is very normal; its complete elimination is usually not possible.
I ask my patients  to try to be as calm as possible prior to surgery;  this “calmness"  tends to translate to a smoother postoperative course. You may be able to alleviate some  pre operative anxiety with music, exercise, meditation, a glass of wine (if ok with your surgeon), sexual activity (be careful...), and positive/objective focus on the long term outcome/benefits etc. prior to your procedure.
Generally, patients find that they did “get worked up for nothing” after their  recovery  is completed.
 I hope this helps.  Good luck!

Anxiety and the breast

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There are many people in this country that suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. You are probably not the only one to have them related to anticipated breast augmentation surgery. In many cases panic attacks can be controlled with medication. A visit to a board certified psychiatrist (if you haven't already done so) will help to guide you through the process. Good luck!

Anxiety around Breast Implant surgery

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I would recommend deferrng surgery or possibly seeking hypnosis or anxiety management treatment. You anticiipation of the anxiety can only make it worse. Until you feel comfortable with proceeding I would hold off on surgery. Thousands of people have the procedure and experience manageable pain and breif episodes of anxiety which may need to be treated and this is usual short lived.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Anxiety best controlled before breast augmentation

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With and cosmetic procedure there is an expected level of anxiety and apprehension which can lead up to surgery, and last a short time after as patients adjust to their new look. Occasionally medication is helpful just before proceeding to the surgery room, and for a few days after to cope with the stresses and healing. Severe anxiety and panic attacks can be a 'red flag' and indicate a poorly made or uncertain decision about the surgery, or indicate a medical condition which requires professional attention, and good control before you are able to make a good decision about breast augmentation. See your primary doctor and be sure that you are 'cleared' and ready for a decision as important as cosmetic surgery. Your surgeon should insist as well.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Panic attacks and breast augmentation

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I believe that you should have your panic attacks and anxiety under good conrol prior to breast augmentation especially since you do have concerns with the sensation of swelling of the chest. Panic attacks very often have focus in the chest and breathing and breast augmentation will make that sensation worse. In adition you should have a psychiatrist available for post operative management in case you do have a severe panic attack.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Preop anxiety for breast implants

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There are patients who have preop anxiety that can become extreme. If it escalates to the level of panic attacks, that is another issue and as Dr. Aldea suggested really needs to be evaluated by a Board Certified Psychiatrist. Only once you have this under control will you be a reasonable candidate for surgery.

Anxiety after breast surgery

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It's normal to have some degree of anxiety after surgery and I have had an occassional patient with significant anxiety. 

My suggestion would be to seek professional help from a psychiatrist if you are not able to get it under control.  Your surgeon may be able to make a recommendation.

Darrick E. Antell, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Anxiety attacks with plastic surgery

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Anxiety attacks are commonplace and can occur in patients in the perioperative period. A plastic surgeon must decide whether this poses a health hazard for the patient and whether the anxiety attacks compromise patient care. In any case, it would be wise to seek the additional advice of a psychiatrist or psychologist during the perioperative period.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Breast Augmentation for patient with panic attacks

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"I have had to cancel surgery to start taking Lexapro to help prevent future panic attacks post surgery. Two days before my surgery date, I had a severe panic attack and had to change the date."

Although, I have never treated a patient with this specific problem, I very seriously doubt that you are "the only one with this problem".

I do not know WHO prescribed your Lexapro, but in this country the vast majority of such medications are prescribed by either Family Medicine or Gynecologists - not by Psychiatrists which is very unfortunate. Odds are this happened in your case.

The fact is you have a psychiatric issue based on a chemical imbalance. Just as it was repeatedly hammered into the American populace's heads to seek BOARD CERTIFIED physicians, the vast majority do not understand nor follow up on it. I would HIGHLY recommend you see a board certified Psychiatrist. Not only would he / she be able to properly diagnose you, but be able to treat you with the medication(s) best suited for your disorder and in the proper doses to make them effective.

That WILL take care of your panic attacks.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.