You walk into my office that first time feeling a mixture of excitement, anticipation, and yes - a little fear. You've waited for this moment for months, often years, and now, it's actually here. You are finally about to discuss that part of your body that you want changed, altered, fixed. It doesn't matter whether you're thinking about something as involved as a facelift or Mommy makeover or a "smaller" procedure such as fillers or Botox.
You've taken the first step away from just imagining it towards realizing your desire.
Exhilarating. And scary.
Your decision to proceed with your cosmetic procedure is a combination of many things: your level of trust in me and my staff, your specific desires, health, and finances, to name several. I will write about some of those in a later post, but one factor that sometimes does not get the attention it deserves is the emotional one.
Because even the most logical, analytical person - the Mr. Spock's of the world - will likely come up against some emotionally charged moments during their plastic surgery adventure, and reason can fly out the window. Knowing what to expect is critical.
Here are 5 emotional/psychological points that I believe you should keep in mind when you are considering plastic surgery:
1. Have a stable support system
It is very helpful if your significant other or close family/friends are aware of and approve of your planned procedure. Not only does it make postoperative care much simpler, for instance, but it's also good to have someone who understands what you're going through when the anticipated bumps in the road occur during healing. Believe me, you don't want to have to make your own dinner the night after a breast augmentation.
2. The decision is yours and no one else's
This can be a little tricky to discern, especially in light of the first point. The decision to have a procedure ultimately must be yours, not that of, for instance, your spouse even though he or she should support your decision. For instance, if you're considering breast surgery: Do you want an augmentation for your own well-being or are you trying to fit someone else's ideal? Will you proceed with a breast reduction because you're tired of having back pain or will you accede to, perhaps, a significant other's desire for things to remain the same because they say they like you the way you are?
3. Have reasonable expectations
The changes you are expecting from your surgery should be reasonable and limited in scope; I mean this in two ways. First, I cannot routinely make you look as if you are 30 or more years younger (and I doubt that's what you were looking for, anyway). Second, once you have undergone your planned procedure(s) and gotten the results you wanted, you're satisfied and not necessarily looking to have more surgery immediately. This is not to say that you should never have another procedure (again, many of our patients do), but rather, that a desire to have surgery for surgery's sake is not healthy. We all know the Cat Woman - 'nuff said.
4. Realize surgery won't make your life perfect
As much as I love making changes that can make your life better, I am the first to admit that having plastic surgery will not make everything in your life perfect. To be blunt, just as having a baby probably won't stabilize an already rocky relationship, neither will having a tummy tuck or liposuction. This is not to be confused with an increase in self-confidence that comes from achieving the look one desires, a fine line of distinction.
5. Be ready for a roller coaster of emotion
Post surgery, there is an expected flood of emotions; the following flow is typical, but not exclusive:
Initially, you are excited to have finally done what you wanted and although you hurt that first two or three days, you just know it's going to be worth it.
Several weeks to a few months in, however, when you feel as if you should be 100% both in healing and results, little niggling doubts can begin to creep in: Did I do the right thing? Am I healing OK? What's wrong with me - why don't I feel/look like everyone else?
Believe me, you are just like everyone else. It is completely normal to have both healing ups and downs in the first few month as well as the accompanying mood swings. Try to concentrate on the future, when everything is healed and you finally have the look you've wanted. Remember, this is when having your support system really pays off. Who else will be with you the entire time, from the moment you open your eyes post surgery to when you're enjoying the new fit of your clothes or the face looking back at you in the mirror.
Get ready for great results!
While the above list is by no means exhaustive, if you've got them under control, you're way ahead of the game when it comes to preparing for your plastic surgery.
Choosing plastic surgery is a big decision. Please feel free to review a few important articles we've written. We're here to answer your questions.