After much consideration and painstaking research, you are now settled in your decision to go ahead and undergo plastic surgery. This research would have entailed hours trying to find the best surgeon for your procedure, looking through galleries with thousands of before and after pictures, and seeing the amazing plastic surgery transformations – you want that to be you. The results are going to be with you for a long time-presumably, the rest of your life. Therefore, you want to ensure that you are mentally prepared for this procedure, but how can you do this?
Only speak to your surgeon about the procedure
The internet is simultaneously a blessing and a curse. Just as there is information at your fingertips, so too is misinformation. It is extremely easy to find yourself reading the wrong things (horror stories around) and then causing yourself undue mental and emotional distress. You must be secure in your knowledge that you have done your research, found a qualified surgeon with the prerequisite knowledge and skills. Therefore any concerns that you have can be raised with them-no matter how trivial they may seem. They will be more than able to answer your questions, address your concerns and they can also direct you to read the material or watch videos that are accurate.
Be realistic about your expectations
You must be realistic about the results that you are expecting from the procedure. If your expectations are unrealistically high, then you will inevitably be disappointed. When you have your consultation with your surgeon, they should be honest about the results that you are able to achieve. Plastic surgery has its limitations and so, while it can improve and enhance features, perfection is not achievable. It is also a good idea to not compare yourself to others-different body types can achieve different results and so you cannot expect to look exactly like someone else. Genetics, the surgery itself, and even the aftercare can also affect the outcome.
Be patient (and optimistic)
Plastic surgery is a process and so the results are not instantaneous. Based on the procedure you do, the time for full recovery can be up to a year or more than a year. There may also be swelling and bruising that occurs because of the procedure itself and so the results may not be noticeable. Some procedures such as rhinoplasty may also take several months to settle into its final shape.
Start healthy habits
In the weeks before your surgery, it is a good idea to develop healthy habits that you continue post-surgery. Exercise, eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, getting adequate sleep, and stopping unhealthy habits such as smoking, and drinking would be greatly beneficial to improving physical and mental health. Knowing that you are in good physical health prior to surgery will make you feel more comfortable and will also help to control anxiety.
Expect the post-surgery ‘blues’
After surgery, depression, or feelings of regret are not uncommon. You have just undergone a life-changing event and your body has undergone trauma. These feelings help you to stay quiet while you recover, and they are usually temporary. If you are unable to shake them or if they are getting worse, it may be a good idea to consult your primary care physician.
There are several steps that can be taken to put your mind at ease prior to undergoing plastic surgery. Remember that it is a process, and you will get through it if only you remain calm. You have done your research and you are in good hands.
Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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