I had a breast augmentation 3 days ago and I am so depressed. Is this normal?

I am 27 years old with no children. 3 days ago I had a breast augmentation to correct asymmetry/sagging. This is something I have wanted to fix my entire life, but now that I did it, I am so depressed. I keep questioning why I did this and if I made the right decision. Is it normal to feel this way? I am scarring myself.

Doctor Answers 16

Post-op Depression

After a surgical procedure, your body is going through changes both physically and mentally. It is not uncommon for patients who have just had breast augmentation surgery to feel “ups” and “downs” as they are recovering. During this transitional period, you are getting used to your new body makeover. As you heal from the procedure, you will get used to the new changes and your satisfaction with your surgery will increase more and more over time. It is important to reach out to your board-certified plastic surgeon and dedicated staff to communicate your concerns as they are a great resource for support during your recovery and want to help you be happy with your results! Good luck!

San Jose Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Not Unusual Response

Dear sadelman3, The reactions to general anesthesia and the psychology surrounding this event are varied. We routinely give all of our patients at their preop visit a full page of instructions to anticipate moodiness, depression, elation, insomnia, and all of these work together to give an unpredictable response. Rest assured, this is not unusual at all, and you will be your old self again within a week or two after surgery. I hope this has been helpful. Robert D. Wilcox, MD

Robert D. Wilcox, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

#breastaugmentation #plasticsurgery

hi, sadelman3, Congratulations on your recent surgery and thank you for your excellent question. It is not uncommon to experience an emotional roller coaster after any surgical procedure. As you progress through your recovery, these feelings will usually subside.Your concerns are important to discuss directly with your board certified plastic surgeon. He or she will appreciate the open communication and will want to help you. Here at CARE we actually see all of our breast augmentation surgery patients the very next day after surgery and then again at two weeks and beyond. We enjoy staying closely connected to our patients and enjoy giving the extra attention and service.    Feel free to contact our office, it would be our pleasure to answer your questions in person. Kind regards, Brian S. Coan, MD, FACS  CARE Plastic Surgery          

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Post Op Depression

Thank you for your question- yes, this is not uncommon. Shortly after surgery a combination of factors can contribute to anxiety, depression and a feeling of "let down". If you are taking narcotic medication this can affect your thoughts and mood. Being in pain and having regular activities disrupted as well as poor sleep will affect your mood and having made a big, expensive decision takes a toll on your mind. I recommend that you contact your Plastic Surgeon and let them know how you are feeling. Rest assured that this typically resolves within a few weeks when you are adjusted and feeling more yourself. If you need help or guidance in the meantime- don't hesitate to reach out to a health care or mental health professional. Hang in there

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Breast augmenttion

Many patients get a bit depressed after surgery. This often improves as the recovery progresses. Good luck with your results.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Depression after breast augmentation

Thank you for your question.I am sorry to hear that you are feeling this way post operatively but remember, you just went through surgery. Your body needs to heal physically as well as mentally. The recovery period can be hard on some people, not being used to their new body, being restricted in certain activities while healing and being on medications can also affect your mood. I would give yourself a couple months to recover, get used to your implants and watch them settle into their pockets and become less swollen and more natural looking and feeling. If you are still unhappy with your decision and results then I would consult with your surgeon for a possible breast implant removal. I hope this helps!
Good luck in your recovery!

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Board Certified ENT
Board Certified Plastic Surgery
Member of ASPS, ASAPS, ISAPS, The Rhinoplasty Society, AAFPRS, OTO/HNS, ASLMS

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Depressed after breast augmentation.

Thank you for your question. Healing after plastic surgery is a process and the earlier parts are the most challenging.  Emotions are a big part of the process as well. It takes time to adapt to your new image, you can feel anxious about your results, etc.. Talk to your surgeon if you have any concerns. Best of luck!

Carolina Restrepo, MD
Colombia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

I had a breast augmentation 3 days ago and I am so depressed. Is this normal?

I'm sorry to hear about your concerns. It is important to know that you're not the only one who feels this way after a surgery. Surgical procedure is a lot to go through and it takes time to recover and adjust to your new body image. Give yourself more time to adjust and speak with your surgeon if questions or concerns arise.

Austin Hayes, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Postoperative depression and steps to minimize it

Thank you for your question!

Please rest assured that feeling depressed and regretful about your surgery within the first week is a common feeling among patients, so you are not alone. You may panic over what you have done, be regretful and anxious, doubt your needs for surgery, and worry about the final results while your incisions look scary.

In fact, the 1st few weeks after a cosmetic surgery such as breast augmentation can be difficult both physically and emotionally.

There is normally an emotional cycle of ups and downs that most patients undergo. Post-operative depression is real, and its effects can be minimized if patients are prepared for and understand it in advance.

  • Emotional Rollercoaster (Low Energy) – 1st week
    • There will be swelling, pain, discomfort, and physical change. This is a time when your inner and outer energy level will be low making you disinterested in other things. Pain medications will make you disoriented and emotional with feelings of depression coming about the 3rd or 4th day.
  • Overly critical and Nit-picking – 2nd to 6th week
    • You will start to feel better with the stitches out, and the decrease in swelling and muscle cramps. Thinking that you are recovering well, you will think your breasts are recovering and reaching their final looks so you may look at your new breasts critically worrying about symmetry, scars, and so on. You will wonder if you achieved your goal and got “what you paid for.”
  • Noticing other’s reactions and Joy – 12th to 24th week
    • You will appreciate your looks, surgical results and feel-good emotions. You will look for other people’s positive reactions on changes in your body even though you will not want them to know that you got surgery and will feel validated when you hear, “you look wonderful.” You may be in the mood to buy your new bra to check out the size difference, check out some bathing suits or tops to show off your new figure. This is when you will say that you were glad to have done the surgery.
Reasons for depression and Regret:
  1. Perception of Body Image
    1. Coming into surgery, some women may be insecure about their chest size and some maybe hoping that it would make others like them more, and when they get surgery and do not get immediate results, and do not get an immediate positive reaction from people, they may feel discouraged and regretful. Others may regret going too big, or going too small, and feel like they destroyed the natural looks of their breasts with scars.
  2. General Anesthesia
    1. Traces of anesthetics used to make you sleep during surgery can temporarily stay in your body’s tissues affecting you both physically (fatigue and exhausted) and emotionally (depressed and in despair) for up to 3 weeks.
  3. Pain medications
    1. In addition to reducing your pain, your use of narcotic pain killers which are also considered depressants also slow everything down like alcohol bringing out a range of emotional reactions based on the mood and atmosphere of their surroundings.
  4. Physical Restrictions inherent in recovery
    1. Your usual routine in life will be dictated by the instructions for recovery which limit your movements by many weeks to allow healing. For example, you will not be able to fully use your chest muscles for a couple of weeks limiting your ability to drive, pick up things that are more than 10 pounds, change clothes, etc. Because of this loss of control of your body, your looks, your schedule, you will be stuck in bed, depending on others with basic tasks such as self-care and other daily-activities minimizing your level of independence. Because of being out of your comfort zone, you may experience feelings of restlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, and boredom. Due to the lack of exercise, your brain will only provide a short supply of endorphins, which is never a good thing, mood-wise and this is why you will wonder why on earth you went ahead and did the surgery.
  5. Physical symptoms
    1. With pain, swelling, bruising and visible stitches from the surgery, and nausea from pain killers, you will feel terrible physically, making you question whether you made the right decision to undergo the surgery.

  Steps to prevent the feelings:
  • Get support from your loved ones: recovery can be difficult when you are alone and full of emotions. When your partner, your family member, or friend provide help in a supportive way, it can be very comforting to know that you’re not alone in this especially because you will have someone to share your concerns and feelings with.
  • Plan your recovery before surgery: with the physical and emotional stress, coming into recovery without a simple plan can be more troublesome. You should be eating healthy, fresh, and nutritious meals/snacks to aid the healing process, you should have comfortable clothing, and have no difficulty in getting access to the bathroom, warm settings, and entertainment (books, magazine, T.V, laptop, phone) at home to pass the time.  You will want to drink lots of water and gets lost of rest.
  • Do not make conclusions based on immediate results: with 3 days after your surgery, it is easy to look at the results and pass your judgment about your body image. You will be swollen, without an appetite, bruised, and the implants may not have dropped, so you will feel awful seeing that you did not get the results you wanted and are in worse condition because of all the pain and sadness. However, your final results will not come about until 3-6 months after surgery.

You should always follow your surgeon’s instructions for recovery. Please share your feelings and concerns with your plastic surgeon as they will be in the position to best help you with not only your physical concerns, but your mental and emotional concerns.

Best of luck in your recovery!

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 457 reviews

Post op depression

The first weeks can be really difficult– physically and especially emotionally after any cosmetic surgery and breast augmentation is no exception Assuming your surgery went well this may be a normal reaction. Although several factors may be involved causing this including underlying stress, medications, psychological tendencies, etc - many women experience a sequence of emotional feelings "Emotional Rollercoaster" following aesthetic surgery - but it does pass. Having a partner, family member , or friend who is supportive can help this process.The stages of emotional ups and downs if understood in advance can help you stay calm and get you through this process more quickly.
Phase 1 – Being Out of It
Swelling and discomfort is most severe over the first few days after breast augmentation. Pain medications also can make you disoriented and emotional.
Phase 2 – Mood Swings
Having just had breast augmentation you are adjusting to a sudden change in your appearance with much anticipation.. The presence of bruising, swelling, and edema, your breasts aren't going to be look like the final outcome. Mood swings especially sadness, worry and depression are common.You may even ask: "What have I done?" or think that "I never should have done it" 
Phase 3 Being over critical
During the second week you will probably be feeling a lot better. The edema (swelling) and muscle cramping/spasms if implants were under the muscle will be decreasing and stiches out.. Because of anticipation it is natural for you to look critiacally at your new breasts worrying about symmetry, scars, and so on. . So; it's normal to wonder if you acheived your goal and "what you paid for" . This is too soon to tell and most concerns are resolved with time. 
Phase 4 Happy at last
Finally, about week 3 or so, you will probably start liking how you look and are feeling much better.. You may be in the mood to buy your new bra to check out the size difference, check out some bathing suits or tops to show off your new figure and show off.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 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.