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Emotions After Surgery

Coping with your emotions after surgery

The ‘post-operative blues’ can be more common than people think and particularly after facial rejuvenation and eyelid surgery. Consider the complete contrast from, before surgery - feeling excited, although perhaps apprehensive about your cosmetic procedure, to the post-operative scene and all that that goes with it. The effects of the anaesthetic and any pain relieving drugs, discomfort sometimes, the bruising and swelling you may experience, your possible unpleasant appearance whilst healing takes place - Is it any wonder that some people get down in the dumps? 

The ‘blues’ often set in about three days after surgery and many people at this time often wonder what possessed them to have surgery in the first place. However, the good news is that this is usually temporary. As the post-operative effects subside and the ‘new you’ begins to emerge, your mood should soon lift again. Be aware that this can happen though; “Forewarned is forearmed”, says Mr Henley.

You must also be patient with the healing process – don’t go judging the result the minute the bandages are off! Many cosmetic operations take many months before the final result is seen and, following surgery to the nose, it can take up to two years.

It may take some time to adjust to your new look too, particularly if the surgery has significantly changed your body image. Even small physical changes can have a dramatic impact in your appearance. It may take a while for you to adjust to the reflection in the mirror and accept that what you see is really you.

It is helpful to rehearse how you will handle any adverse comments about your surgery from friends and family. You may have already experienced some negative reactions leading up to surgery. The comments don’t always go away post-operatively either, at least not for a while. You may be criticised for being vain or foolish; this is particularly the case if you do have a complication - some people will hardly be able to wait to get in with their ‘told you so’ response. If you have changed a family trait, you may also come under heavy fire. Similarly, a change to an ethnic trait may attract disapproval and there are, of course, a few unfortunate individuals who will be plain jealous of your new look and want to put you down at the first opportunity. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends that you arm yourself with a standard response such as, “This is something that I did for myself and I am very happy with the results.”  Remember, if you are happy with the results, then your operation was most definitely a success.

To help deal with any of these potential problems, make sure that you are careful who you choose to discuss your surgery with in the first place and, secondly, that you have a family member or friend around to help you – and choose one that is going to be supportive. If that relative or friend was opposed to you having surgery in the first place, they might not be the right person to have around when you are feeling at your worst.

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