By the time you schedule your tummy tuck surgery, you will have likely been thinking about getting the procedure for months, if not years. Before the date of your abdominoplasty, you’ll feel a lot of emotions: excitement, nervousness — even fear. This is a major surgery, after all.
As you feel all these big emotions in the lead up to your procedure, it is easy to think that once you wake up in the recovery room, those feelings will disappear and you’ll be back to your normal self — just a bit improved. However, for many patients, the recovery period is even more emotional.
Feeling very emotional after your tummy tuck might sound bad, but the truth is that it is normal, no matter what type of surgery you get.
The Emotional Rollercoaster of Surgery
Plastic surgery is mostly associated with positive emotions — but these tend to come once the patient is healed enough to get a solid idea of their final results. This isn’t to say you won’t feel happy, relieved or excited right after your surgery. These emotions just tend to be the hills on the post-surgery rollercoaster.
So, what about the valleys? And why do these valleys even exist?
To get a grip on this, you have to think about how the body perceives surgery. It doesn’t understand that it is a path to a new and improved you — or in the cases of certain surgeries, essential to your health. The body only understands that wounds have been inflicted and that it needs to heal.
Think about past injuries, or even when you’ve been taken down by a bad cold or other illness. Even when the recovery period is short or you know the end is in sight, you often feel worn down, depressed and overwhelmed. You might notice yourself tearing up more easily or struggling to engage with others.
Feeling emotional after plastic surgery is similar. You may not be sick, but your brain and body treat it much the same way.
Situational Aspects of Feeling Emotional after a Tummy Tuck
To a degree, those ups and downs are a biological response to surgery. At the same time, situational aspects can amplify them. Some common factors that can increase these mood swings include:
- Lack of Help During Recovery: After a tummy tuck, you are going to need assistance around the house, especially with cleaning and childcare. If you don’t have enough support, the frustration of being limited by recovery can become overwhelming.
- Desiring Too Much Control: You might have the help you need but struggle to relinquish control. For those people who are used to doing everything, sitting back and doing nothing can be depressing.
- Focusing on Your Appearance: Directly after a tummy tuck, things don’t look picture perfect. It takes months to see your final results, and in the meantime, there is swelling, bruising, stitches and more. Looking in the mirror too early on can be genuinely shocking for the patient.
In the end, you will feel emotional during your tummy tuck recovery, and this is not a bad thing. Know that your surgeon is there for you if any emotions you feel become too much. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
Dr. David Dellinger at Elysian Plastic Surgery in Austin is a double board-certified plastic surgeon who maintains a practice focus on body contouring surgery, breast enhancement and facial rejuvenation.