The Emotional Impact of Plastic Surgery

by Elsa Stringer
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You know just how important it is to have a healthy body prior to undergoing plastic surgery. Did you know that it’s equally as important to have a healthy mindset? You might be surprised to learn that while plastic surgery can help you to improve your aesthetics, it can have an unexpected emotional aspect.

There are many great benefits of plastic surgery, especially if you’ve felt self-conscious about the areas you are getting work done. But many do neglect to consider the potential for the psychological ramifications of having a major surgery. Postoperative depression is a real phenomenon. The effects can be handled and minimized, however, if you are prepared to handle what you may experience.

Postoperative depression

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There are a number of factors that can contribute to postoperative depression, which is actually more commonly experienced than most people are aware of. It’s not exclusive to plastic surgery and can be experienced after almost any type of surgical procedure.

Some of the contributing factors could include the following.

  • General anesthesia. Some people are particularly sensitive to the effects of anesthesia that will be used during your surgery. It can have an impact on your body and your mind for up to a month. The residual effects could include lethargy, depression and anger.
  • Pain management medications. According to Brisbane plastic surgeon, DrJustinPerron, postoperative pain management typically requires a small period of time where the patient will need to rely on prescription painkillers. Narcotic painkillers are considered to be system depressants, and some may be more sensitive to their side effects.
  • Physical restrictions during recovery. You may find that you’re wholly reliant on a family member or friend during your recovery phase. This can be disruptive to your routine and your sense of independence. A lack of physical activity can also mean that you’re not enjoying the same endorphins that you were prior to having your surgery.

Considering the impact of the way you look

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Let’s face it, after your surgery you may not look your very best. When we don’t look and feel our best, we are much more likely to feel terrible emotionally. Depending on the procedure that you had done, you may have a lot of postoperative swelling and bruising; you may also feel nauseated.

While this will definitely pass as you recover, it’s important that you take care of your needs until you are further along in your recovery. Be very patient with the way that your body is healing. Incisions can often look worse as they begin the healing process. Just be sure not to make any judgements on the outcome of your surgery based on how you look and feel when you’re still swollen and sporting bruises.

Your surgeon will provide you with a list of postoperative care instructions and will include information related to any potential signs of infection or other complications.

Combatting postoperative depression

Combatting postoperative depression

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Perhaps the most important thing that you need to do is to ensure that you have a strong support system in your spouse, adult children, parents and friends. Ensure that you have everything you need close at hand, prior to your surgery. Healthy meals, snacks, a refillable water bottle, your phone and a good book to enjoy. These small essentials can help to keep your feeling your best.

Follow the instructions that your surgeon provides, and be sure that you take all medications as they are prescribed.

Be kind to yourself and don’t try to overdo it while you’re recovering. Allow your loved ones to take care of you. Don’t return to work until you are ready and you are cleared by your surgeon.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your surgeon if you feel that you aren’t recovering, physically or emotionally. You may recover from the procedure and be in love with the way that your results look, but still find that you struggle with your emotions. The sooner that you reach out for help, the sooner you’ll be feeling back to your happy self and able to truly appreciate the results of your surgery.

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