June 13, 2019

The Surgical Effect on Emotions: Are They Worth it?

woman drinking coffee reading on the couch

Whether you expect it or not, it is normal to feel as if your emotions are out of control as you begin the surgical process. After the initial decision is made to have surgery, you may continue to experience many highs and lows during this process.

Surgery will affect everyone differently. And you or your family may not be prepared for the highs and lows you will experience. But we feel it’s important to talk about how the experience of plastic surgery can affect your emotions and how you can help prepare for the emotional roller coaster.

Prior to Surgery

At this time, it is normal to experience a mixture of anxiety and excitement about the upcoming procedure. You will be excited to finally be having the surgery that you have wanted. As you begin to prepare for surgery – coordinating childcare, transportation, ensuring that your family is prepared for your upcoming procedure – you may begin to second-guess your decision. Once, the actual surgery day arrives, the anxiety and excitement may make it difficult to sleep the night before surgery as your head continues to churn with these conflicting emotions.

After Surgery – Short Term

Immediately after surgery, you may find yourself exhausted and with low energy. These feelings are also completely normal and are due to a variety of factors.

Your body may not look the way you envisioned it would look after surgery – you’re bruised and swollen, the incisions are red, and every bump or irregularity appears magnified during this time period.

Also during the recovery period, limited mobility and not being able to do simple tasks yourself may be difficult and cause stress.

Furthermore, pain medication side effects may also play a large role in your emotions. Your surgeon can change your medication if your current prescription is contributing to any adverse emotional issues. If you’ve been sensitive to pain medications in the past, it’s important to speak with your doctor to discuss the best medication plan for you.

man lying on couch with bandageslyi

After Surgery – Long Term

A few weeks after surgery, when the initial bruising and swelling have decreased, you will start to be able to see the results of your surgery. At this point, you can start to envision the changes you will see in a year when the scars have faded and all of the swelling has resolved. Also, you will start to see how your clothes are fitting and draping differently and others may start to comment on how good you look.

“I usually advise patients that they will see an initial decrease in bruising and swelling at 3-4 weeks, Dr. Bajaj says. “Additional improvements over the next 2-3 months as the lumpiness and irregularities start to resolve, and more subtle changes over the next year as the scars fade and the remainder of the swelling resolves.”

How to Prepare for Post-Op Emotions

As with many things, communication is key. We encourage you to ask questions regarding the healing process and what happens once you leave the operating room. The more you know about what is to come, the better prepared you will be. We are more than happy to sit down and talk with you as long as you like so you feel comfortable with your upcoming procedure.

After you speak with Dr. Bajaj and have an idea about what recovery may look like, it is time to set up your recovery place.

Set up Your Home for Recovery

There are many things you can do to set your recovery and emotions up for success. Try to think about everything you may need and what will make things easier to heal. Start with some of these ideas to get your home ready for recovery.

Eating Healthy Foods and Drinking Water

You can help boost your mood and even improve how your body heals by eating healthy foods. Eating the right foods can prevent complications, such as constipation and high blood glucose, and provide the necessary vitamins and proteins your body needs to heal quickly.

Staying hydrated is also important. Keep a glass near your bed or couch to help remind you to drink plenty of liquids. If you need some caffeine, tea is the best source. Remember to avoid alcohol while taking medications and healing, and always check with your surgeon for specific recommendations.

Find Your Support System

Having the right support system can make a large impact on your recovery and your emotions. Try to lean on a spouse, siblings, parents, adult children, or friends to help with daily tasks and for comfort.

Set up a Recovery Station

Before you leave for your surgery, set up a recovery station. This is the area where you’ll be spending the most time recovering, like the couch or your bedroom. Gather comfy pillows, extra blankets, entertainment, and necessities and have them readily available for when you return home.

As with any medical condition or procedure, when in doubt — call your doctor. Dr. Bajaj understands what you are going through and is experienced to deal with not only physical complications of surgery but also with emotional after effects. You can set up a personal consultation with Dr. Bajaj online today if you are considering a procedure and would like to ask any questions.