Undertaking plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery is a big decision. There are many things to consider and you may have already read the Treatment page for the surgery you are considering undergoing, but what else do you need to think about? What haven’t you read about in your research so far? How can you best prepare yourself for a good recovery and great outcome? Let’s answer some of those tricky (or embarrassing) questions that you never knew you had. Don’t forget to read Part 2 once you are done!
Your results are based on you
Your results are based on you. Not a celebrity’s nose job, not how your friends’ new boobs look, not what someone on Instagram has had done! Your results are based on what is possible for you, your existing body or face structure, and therefore the results are going to be unique to you! It’s better to set yourself up with realistic expectations and embrace what is going to be awesome for you.
This will give you a better result than aiming for something that doesn’t suit you. We often get this vision in our minds when we are considering plastic surgery, and we convince ourselves it is going to be perfectly awesome. Having a surgeon tell you it’s not possible may seem like they are not the squad you wanted, but they might just be the squad you need.
If a surgeon promises you the world and it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Time to consider a second opinion.
You may have emotional ups and downs
Before and after surgery you may find yourself on a bit of a rollercoaster ride when it comes to how you feel. You might feel a range of emotions from elation to doubt, happiness to concern. After your surgery, there may be a few days of wondering what you did to yourself, as you lay in bed recovering, with dressings, discomfort and results hard to see at that stage. After a few weeks you may be recovering quite well but the final results are still not showing, and you may wonder if it was all worth it. After a few months, you will see the results, be back into a more regular routine and feeling like Yes! it was worth the challenges that you faced.
Some ways to balance these emotions out is to remember this is a normal part of your surgery, and to give yourself a break… and some time. Have a good support crew who will listen and support you without judgement (let them know before your surgery to expect some tears and uncertainty!) And most importantly, look after yourself, staying hydrated, nourished and rested will help keep yourself on a more even keel.
You may feel worried about sneezing or coughing
Those little things you take for granted and barely notice happening, they suddenly loom large when you have a wound to protect! Not only could it cause some discomfort to sneeze or cough, but you may be worried about popping staples or sutures. Holding a folded towel against your abdomen or chest is helpful for those who have undergone a tummy tuck or breast surgery. Reduce exacerbating activities, like dusting the house or walking down the detergent aisle at the supermarket. If you have a tickly throat, which can happen after surgery, have some lozenges on hand to prevent the dry cough. If you are concerned about your dressing, sutures or staples, please contact the clinic and ask to speak to a nurse, or of course, go to your GP or walk in clinic to have them checked.
Your recovery is your recovery
Did your friend or family member bounce back quickly after their surgery? Did they have a smooth run and experience none of the challenges you seem to be facing? There’s a chance they’ve glossed over the nitty gritty to spare you details they think might scare you. Or maybe they think there is a medal for winning at surgery recovery and would rather deny than admit it was less than perfect! Don’t compare your experience and think you should keep up with anyone else’s timeline. Of course, they can give you some perspective on what to expect, but take it based on your individual needs, remembering that rest and recuperation are what you need after surgery… it’s not a race.
You need to think about pooping
Many people experience the difficulty that can occur with pooping (bowel regularity) after surgery. Your body is reacting to the surgical experience, you may be dehydrated and have been eating less food, you will be inactive and moving about less than usual, plus the pain medication is very well known to slow down your bowels and create an effect not unlike a cement truck in your bowels. Being prepared for this before your surgery means stocking up on healthy food, making sure you stay hydrated and gentle activity as discussed with your nurse. You may also want to buy a suitable over the counter stool softener, as recommended by your nurse or your local pharmacist.
Your body needs extra TLC
Before your surgery, your body needs extra nutrition and rest, to give your self the best outcome and to aid your recovery. This means that you don’t undertake weight loss plans with low calories or sudden change in exercise routines. Avoid partying and social situations where you will end up tired, dehydrated and needing to detox. Take the supplements and supportive drinks as provided in your pre-surgery program. Focus on getting your body healthy and supported, not worked out and worn out!
After your surgery, providing yourself with rest, hydration and nutrition is very important to help your body heal. Make it easier on yourself and plan ahead. Make a plan of what you will eat, buy groceries and even do some meal prep to make it easier for you and your family or carers post op. Make and freeze some nutritious, comforting meals, like vegetable filled soups. Perhaps consider a delivered food service or get groceries delivered for a few weeks. If a helpful relative or friend offers to cook or care for you, now is the time to say yes!
Your mindset can make a difference.
Mindset can make a difference, so getting yourself mentally prepared is important leading up to your surgery. This means letting go of any guilt you feel for not being able to contribute 100% to your family, work or usual commitments, and that you need time to take care of yourself. This means thinking about the emotional ups and downs that may take place. Remind yourself that you have invested time and money in your surgery, so it makes sense to rest, take care of yourself and give yourself the best recovery. Talk to your family and loved ones, so you discuss the expectations for before and after your surgery. There may be challenges but staying positive and being prepared to find solutions is a great attitude to take into your surgery.
Don’t forget to read Part 2! If you have other questions, please call and talk to our Patient Services Team on (02) 6282 1177. You can also discuss them with Dr Taylor during your personal consultation with him, or our Cosmetic Consultants, Cheryl and Rachelle.
We can’t wait to see you at the CAPS Clinic in Canberra.