Starting to panic prior to surgery?

I'm 33, 2 pregnancies and have wanted a tummy tuck for 10 years. I have put a lot of effort into saving for the procedure, assuring that I have time off and support post op. I'm at the point of scheduling consults and hopefully scheduling the surgery soon. For many years I've been excited about it but I'm finding that suddenly I am starting to panic about potential complications and recovery. I've had general anesthesia before without complications. How much worry is normal pre op?

Doctor Answers 5

Nervous before surgery

This is VERY common when you are getting more serious about moving forward with surgery. It's one thing to be collecting information because it isn't real, but once you really want to do it, you can get really nervous. This is especially true for Moms because you are worrying about your kids and feel all sorts of guilt related to things you do for yourself. (I would know!) BUT - general anesthesia is very safe. In fact, studies have shown that driving to your surgery is more dangerous than actually having surgery! I think that doing things for yourself like a tummy tuck that improves your body image and self esteem is very important. When you feel good about yourself, you are a better mom, a better member of society, more successful, a better lover, and just - happier.  Best wishes!

Nervous before surgery

It is very common to be nervous before surgery. In fact, I think that it is normal. Remember,  anesthesia is very safe and if you trust your surgeon and confident in his skills, you will likely get a very nice result. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Nervous about surgery!

It completely normal!  In fact, If I was having surgery I would be nervous too - but only because you're supposed to be!  

Surgery and general anesthesia are very, very safe for healthy individuals.  It doesn't mean that crazy things can't happen, but it's rare.   

The most important part is to make sure and find a good surgeon trained in plastic surgery, and operates at a certified operating room.  If you don't feel comfortable than get out!

Good luck (I think you're going to do awesome!)

Anxiety prior to surgery...

Anxiety prior to surgery is very normal; its complete elimination is usually not possible. Assuming you have chosen your plastic surgeon carefully, other important "variables" such as anesthesia provider and surgery facility will be selected based on everyone's first priority: safety. This careful selection should give you some peace of mind that you will be safe around the time of surgery.

Discuss your specific areas of concerns with your plastic surgeon who will be in the best position to help you calm your nerves. Obtaining "medical clearance" from your family practitioner or internist may also help when it comes to alleviating anxiety.


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) 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.

Starting to panic prior to surgery?

Thank you for your question.  Having some anxiety before surgery is normal.  However, if you feel paralyzed by the anxiety and if it makes you panic, you may want to consider seeing a specialist for that and speaking to your surgeon to become more comfortable with the process.  Be sure to consult with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.  Good luck!

Zachary Farris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 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.