Choosing to change a physical aspect of yourself through surgery is a very personal and emotional thing. It is not unusual for a person considering cosmetic surgery to experience mixed feelings of excitement and jitters during consultation followed by panic and self-doubt after the procedure.
Depending on your procedure, it can take several months for you to see the final results, during which time you may experience a range of emotions. These feelings are completely normal and short-lived, but it helps to be prepared for the vacillating emotions associated with cosmetic surgery recovery.
Here are some of the emotional phases you can expect:
“What have I done?”
The first few days following cosmetic surgery are usually the hardest. This feeling of panic is likely to kick in 3 to 5 days after the procedure. During your first week of recovery, you are required to get plenty of rest. The lack of activity leaves you with a lot of time to ponder your actions and doubts.
“I don’t look like myself!”
As your body continues to heal in the second and third week of recovery, you will begin to see the results of the procedure. The changes to your former self will be more apparent, which may lead to conflicting feelings – especially if the transformation was drastic.
“Maybe this was a mistake!”
Once the changes become apparent, you may start to experience feelings of self-doubt for the next 2 to 3 months every time you look at yourself in the mirror. If the procedure was in preparation for a future event, such as a wedding or holiday, you might feel empty after the excitement and anticipation of the event passes.
I’m so glad I had the courage to get the procedure!
Most of the people who undergo cosmetic surgery are pleased and satisfied with the results and their new self. 3 to 6 months after the procedure, you will be in a position to realize the impact of the procedure, which will boost your confidence.
Feelings of panic after plastic surgery may last for a few days to several weeks, and are strongest when you’re least occupied. To prevent and manage your post-op stress, you should prepare appropriately before the procedure by:
- Creating a strong support system with your spouse, sibling, parent, friend, or adult child who you can freely talk with about your anxieties and feelings
- Setting up the essentials so you can rest with minimal distractions – healthy foods, books, magazines, clothes, TV remote, etc.
- Follow your surgeon’s instructions with regard to rest, medications, alcohol avoidance, nutrition, etc.
Lastly, different procedures have different healing processes. So, be patient and don’t rush any judgments until the final results show. If you experience any problems during your recovery, don’t hesitate to contact your surgeon for assistance.
Meet Dr. Golshani
Daniel Golshani, M.D., F.A.C.S. is a double board-certified Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon. He is one of a small number of plastic surgeons nationally who maintain active certification by both The American Board of Plastic Surgery The American Board of Surgery, and a member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).