Post-Surgery Anxiety: Quicken Your Recovery after Surgery

Post-Surgery Anxiety: When Are Patients Most Happy with Their Procedure? on

The surgery will take just a short period of time. Your transformation will take much longer

We’ve all suffered at least once from buyer’s remorse. It’s the overwhelming feeling we’ve made a mistake, and it’s often associated with an expensive purchase—or one that has far-reaching consequences.

Psychologists explain that we feel this way when our decisions don’t lead to the desired outcome we envisioned. This can happen after cosmetic surgery. You made the decision to have an aesthetic improvement. Now the procedure has been done, and you’ve got no immediate evidence for encouragement. How often do patients have buyer’s remorse post-surgery?

Not what you expected

The first and most important thing to remember is that you are not alone in feeling this way. Wandering through a wide range of emotions during your recovery process is pretty much a universal experience. After all, you’re certainly not seeing the desired outcome you envisioned all at once.

Guess what? It’s impossible for your surgeon to give you the precise date that you’ll be satisfied with your surgical procedure. The healing process can move more slowly—or much quicker—than an average estimate, depending on your overall health and genetics.

Even so, there are four emotional states you’ll likely go through along the way—as well as a corresponding date range—that you’ll want to keep in mind.

1.  OMG!

You may feel this way about your decision about three to five days after your surgery. During this time, it’s common for people to question what they have done, and it’s often because you’ll have ample time to second-guess the decision while taking the required time to rest and recuperate.

Surgeons report that most of their patients tell them the initial days after a procedure are the most difficult. The procedure itself may be obscured by bandages, and you may experience slight to moderate discomfort. So much for feeling better about yourself.

Now is not the time to draw any conclusions.

2.  Who is that?

You might find it hard to recognize either your former self or the new version during the time frame of one to three weeks after your surgical procedure. The healing procedure is underway, but the results you expected may be only slightly apparent.

This can be a time of great conflict. You’re seeing a change as a result of the surgical procedure—but is it the improvement you expected?

What you expected is yet to be presented. Your body needs time to heal. You may see swelling and discoloration, and it’s obscuring the true transformation. You’re still going to need more time to see and appreciate the final results.

3.  This was a mistake

Anywhere from three weeks to a little over a month after your surgical procedure, you still may not be certain that you made a good decision. Remember during this time that many types of aesthetic or reconstructive surgery have a recovery time measured in months, though some are shorter.

During the healing process, the surgical area will continue to undergo changes. Those occurring right after surgery give way to varying degrees of subtle changes. Depending on the procedure, you will soon begin to see the results your surgeon discussed with you.

4.  Okay, this is starting to be what I expected

A majority of those who choose self-improvement with plastic surgery will tell you that they didn’t achieve full satisfaction until a month to several months after their procedure. They’ll also agree that it takes this time to gain perspective. Surgery, whether it’s elective or not, is a stress on the body. Each of our bodies responds differently and on its own schedule.

5.  Transformation time

The vast majority of people who elect to have plastic surgery agree that the moments of doubt were worth it. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery reports that:

  • 95% of patients undergoing breast augmentation are happy with the final look
  • 96% of patients undergoing tummy tucks are happy with the long-term results
  • 90% of patients undergoing a facelift believe the improvements are worth it

One thing’s for sure: None of these people woke up immediately after the procedure feeling that way. Focus on the future as you recover. The transformation has only just begun.

Many plastic surgeons and their patents are happy to share before and after photos of procedures. Head to this section of our website to see before and after photos of Dr. Thomassen’s patients who have undergone breast, body, and facial procedures.

Feel free to contact us if you have specific questions about the time span between any of these images.