Is there any way to help prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the Mommy Makeover recovery process?

I have read many posts where ladies were not prepared for the emotions they experienced through the healing processes. I'm confident there is no way to avoid these emotions but is there anything I can do to prepare myself emotionally for the recovery process? What can I expect to experience mentally and emotionally?

Doctor Answers 16

Is there any way to help prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the Mommy Makeover recovery process?

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Thank you for your question. It would be quite unnatural to not have some anxiety about an impending surgery, but i applaud you for reaching out for reassurance. Be confidant that you have made the right decision for you and you alone. Entering surgery with a positive mindset will make the recovery that much easier. The majority of patients do quite well with a mommy makeover, and if there were questions about your ability to have the surgery performed, your physician would have discussed these with you. There is a natural "blue" period after surgery due to the pain and activity restrictions placed on you and this may remain for the first 2-3 weeks after surgery.  After this period most patients start to feel better as they start to see their surgical results and their comfort improves.  It's hard to consider, but try and remain at ease and enjoy the process.  

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Emotional Prep for Plastic Surgery

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This is a big issue, but  a lot can be done beforehand to make your postop course easier:

1) Manage anxiety before surgery. This includes having all your questions and concerns answered and also probably using some medication to limit the normal anxiety in the day or days before surgery

2) Be proactive about pain control: pain can be a part of all surgery, but managing it proactively can go a long way in minimizing your anxiety. We choose to call our patients every day after surgery till their first visit to eb sure we are doing our best with pain control.  Remember that narcotics are often needed, and they pose their own risk of emotional disturbances. Your doctor should be involved in tapering these medications and offering alternatives to avoid problems in this area. We use a multimodal approach to pain control that allows us to customize our pain control plan for each patient.

3) Get the home front in order.  Everything from where and how you sleep and move about will be affected, especially the first week after surgery. That means getting help arranged, and also being sure your sleeping arrangement is OK with your surgeon. This minimizes disruption of your sleep cycle, which can lead to anxiety and depression if it goes on too long.

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 276 reviews

Mommy makeover and the mental and emotional preparations it entails

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Mental relaxation techniques and being optimistic can help a lot.  Also, surrounding yourself with supportive (and not overly critical) people can help you cope with the postop blues, which are not uncommon.

Bear in mind that the postop swelling and bruising and lethargy can be overwhelming, although they are normal during the healing process. 

Making your home conducive for recovery--i.e., do deep cleaning beforehand, assign a capable adult who will do all the house chores in the first few days or weeks, purchase all your supplies prior to surgery, etc.--can also help you focus more on your recovery and ultimately minimize the postop stress.

And lastly, never rush your recovery.  While some patients are back to work about a week, take note that each person heals differently.  If your not yet ready due to lethargy, you may want to postpone going back to work or at least work part-time, whatever suits your need and comfort. 

Some patients even think that the recovery period can serve as their "me time," so they take advantage of it by indulging in their guilty pleasures--e.g., watching reality tv shows, reading their favorite gossip magazines, you name it.

Good luck and best wishes.

Tarick K. Smiley, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

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Is there any way to help prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the Mommy Makeover process.

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With proper preparation for surgery especially with a large procedure is critical.  It is very important to make sure you are physically ready for surgery.  By quitting smoking, eating a proper diet: with the right protein and vitamins.  Also, being close or near your goal weight by having your body in it's best condition will lessen the emotional distress.

Keep in mind it is very normal to experience some sadness during this procedure.  The first several weeks of the surgery are always the hardest.

Mommy makeover recovery

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This is a great question.  You will go through many emotions after surgery.  Recovery is unique to each individual.  Initially many patients feel nervous because they are uncomfortable and swollen after surgery.  They are dealing with drains, and pain medicine. But after about a week or two the transformation begins when swelling begins to subside and they get a hint of their results.  At about 2-3 months many patients have a spring in their step as their confidence in their body and their excitement at their surgical results is realized.  Again, this is general and healing is unique.  Just know that it is normal to feel a spectrum of feelings and they can change day to day.  Remember that you are doing something to feel better about yourself and you are worth it!

Camille Cash, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Prepearing for a Mommy Makeover recovery.

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Start with  through discussion with your plastic surgery about what to expect after your surgery.  Mentally accept your temporary need for dressings, medication for your discomfort, assistance in moving around in your early stages of healing and that you will not look the way that you want due to swelling and bruising and won't see your final result for 2-3 months.  Be sure to have help set up for home, children, meals, etc.  Get caught up on rest.  Eat a healthy diet and create a strong support network around you you can rely on should you need assistance.  Realize that after the first 2-3 days there will be daily improvement in how you feel.  Good luck.

Is there any way to help prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the Mommy Makeover recovery process?

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Thank you for your question as it is very important. The first thing is I think you are ahead of most patients seeking these procedures as you already have awareness of the challenges that you will be presented with. I think that one of the best things you can do is talk with patients who have already gone through the process. Having a strong support team is also crucial to helping you get through this life changing event. Best of luck!

Patrick L. Basile, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 99 reviews

Mommy make-over - emotional preparation

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Thank you for asking about your mommy make-over. Here are my suggestions for emotional preparation 

  • Get plenty of sleep - 
  • Get plenty of exercise 
  • Being fit and rested makes everything easier.
  • Get organized ahead of time - stock on on food, clean the house, get your hair and nails done, buy Tylenol and Advil, some gauze and tape, a walker to get aroudn.
  • Be sure you have enough people to help you and to look after your children.
  • You will need help yourself for at least 5 days and for your children at least 2 full weeks.
  • Make sure everyone around you knows that even after 2 weeks you will be very very tired -
  • And will still be likely to need help with housework, groceries and children for several more weeks.
  • Also get your mind ready to NOT look the way you hope - you will be bruised and swollen. 
  • You won't begin to be happy with what you see for about 6 weeks, on average.
  • And then relax - and enjoy the result!

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Wave if emotions after surgery

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Hi aksummers and what a great question.

Let me say that mood swings/depression, and other sad type of feelings can occur with almost any cosmetic surgery procedure.  In my experience, and certainly not scientific evidence, I find that bigger operations with longer recoveries tend to produce emotional issues more so than smaller procedures.  I find also that facial operations also produce emotions, even though facial procedures aren't particularly painful, and recovery tends to be easier and quicker.

That said, it has been my observation that people who are used to being in control, who are The Rock of Gibraltar, the one who runs the household and NEVER asks for help are more likely to experience this.  I think (again not scientific) that this is due in part to control issues, and maybe guilt because others have to pitch in and do her duties.

So my recommendation to you is to get into great physical shape, make sure your medical issues are under control, and continuously remind yourself that you deserve to get the surgery to make yourself feel better.  Understand that the procedure is huge, and you will need help, no two ways about it.  Accept it. If you are on antidepressants, speak to that doctor and see if a med change or dose change would be recommended.  Regarding guilt- yes this is totally selfish of you, but you have earned it, so get over that, and have a great result.


Emotional support for a mommy makeover

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Great question! I think that a good support network of family and/or friends is a must.  I tell my patients all the time that these big procedures with longer recovery is a team effort! I prefer to meet them in person to discuss their anticipated recovery.  Realself patient forums are a great resource to hear how others have experienced the procedure.  schedule your surgery 2 months away from any major social events (vacations, weddings, graduations, travel plans).  Having added stress of a perfect recovery for an anticipated social event can be extremely stressful if the recovery has unexpected complications.  

hope that helps and best wishes!

Dr. Morales

ABPS Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Houston, Tx

Rolando Morales Jr, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

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.