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Plastic Surgery

What to Do If You’re Feeling Down after Plastic Surgery

Woman looking listlessly out her blinds.

As you gear up for your plastic surgery, you may have many expectations floating around in your head — your vision for your results, what recovery will be like and the challenge of managing life while recovering. But there is one aspect that many people don’t prepare for, and that is depression after plastic surgery.

The Post-Surgery Blues

Feeling a little sad and down is normal after any surgery, not just plastic surgery. Still, it often takes people by surprise. While you expect to feel a little depressed after most surgeries since the circumstances usually aren’t ideal, plastic surgery is something positive. It has a celebratory and transformative vibe to it. You don’t head into it expecting to feel down once it is done.

Post-surgery blues can happen after any surgery, even if it is very much wanted or needed.

Know that this depression isn’t about the results. It is usually a combination of factors, and the exact combo someone experiences is unique to them. Some factors that contribute to the post-plastic surgery blues include:

  • Struggles with sleep due to feelings of discomfort
  • Lower energy levels as your body devotes more to healing
  • Feeling guilty about missing work or being unable to help out around the house
  • Needing to rely on others when you are typically very independent
  • Worrying about others judging your choice to get surgery
  • Anxiety over what the final results will look like
  • Fretting over whether or not your pain and other symptoms are normal or not
  • Being isolated as you stay home to recover

For most people, this period of post-surgery blues lasts a few days, perhaps a week. Then, as they heal, sleep better and start getting back to normal, the depression lifts.

When to Worry about Your Post-Surgery Blues

In most cases, depression after plastic surgery isn’t overly concerning. However, if it lasts more than a week or feels extreme, reach out to your doctor and support people immediately. If you are experiencing depression strong enough that it makes you feel worried, do not downplay what you are experiencing. There is no shame in getting a little help along the way.

Tips for Minimizing Post-Plastic Surgery Depression

Many people experience some degree of depression after surgery. However, there are things you can do to keep it to a minimum in most cases. These include:

  • Start with realistic expectations, not just for the results of your surgery, but for the recovery period. Research what is normal and gear yourself up mentally for this.
  • Make sure you are choosing plastic surgery for the right reasons. While these vary, at the core of every good reason for cosmetic surgery is making a change that is important to you, not others.
  • Follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions to a T. Do not take prescribed pain medication more often or in higher doses than prescribed. Do not push yourself to do more than you feel up to during recovery.
  • Come up with leisurely activities to keep your mind occupied as you recover, such as reading, catching up on podcasts and other similar activities that don’t require physical effort but stop your mind from wandering to worries.

If you have clinical depression, you may need to take extra steps to prepare for your upcoming plastic surgery. Make sure you disclose this to your plastic surgeon in advance. And no matter what, as you heal, be kind to yourself.


What to Do If You’re Feeling Down after Plastic Surgery
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What to Do If You’re Feeling Down after Plastic Surgery
Depression after plastic surgery is common. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Lee B. Daniel of Eugene, OR explains how to bear the post-surgery blues
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November 16, 2020
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