So often we talk about the physical side of a procedure or surgery. Whether it be preparation, the actual procedure, or the physical recovery… but what about the emotional part of your journey? Often, this can be just as difficult as the physical part of it. Dr Bryan Mendelson is a huge advocate for looking after patients and their mind as well as their body, and we talk to him about what can happen to your emotions, feelings and mental state during a life changing plastic surgery procedure.
Dr Mendelson says any plastic surgery is a journey, “Having aesthetic surgery is not an easy decision. It is a journey – a very personal and important one – and patients need to be carefully supported and cared for at every step, emotionally as well as physically.”
Most people get to the point of having aesthetic surgery because there is something about their appearance they are not happy or comfortable with. Whether it be excess skin after weight loss or sagging, wrinkled skin on the face due to gravity and age, or a misshapen nose that has been the cause of childhood teasing and ridicule; someone’s choice to undergo a procedure always comes from a personal experience that no one can fully grasp unless you are that person or have had a similar experience. There are several things you can do to make the emotional side of the journey easier.
Support from Friends and Family / Plastic Surgeon
Support from friends and family can make all the difference to your plastic surgery experience being an easy one or a harder one. Having someone to sit beside you at a consultation, drive you to and from hospital, visit to provide company and essentials whilst you are there, help once you are home to ensure you don’t do any heavy lifting or pass out in the shower unattended… these are all things that help contribute to your peace of mind. Having said that, not everyone has the support of friends and family, or are in a position where they don’t even want them to know they’re having a plastic surgery procedure. In this case, you need to make sure you have chosen a surgeon who understands you are on your own and has made appropriate steps to ensure you have suitable support.
Dr Bryan Mendelson even has an option for patients to stay at accommodation specifically provided for their recovery, metres from his clinic to ensure you are close to help at hand if you need it, or have someone to talk to in that crucial after-surgery period. “We have a range of options, whether you’re coming from overseas, interstate, or you live in Melbourne but would like to recover in privacy. This includes our very own garden apartment just down from the surgery, fondly known as ‘Tilley’s Place’. Tilley’s gives patients the option to be able to ‘hide away’ somewhere private and close to our office. It has two bedrooms, so you can have a friend or relative to stay if desired. This peaceful, fully self-contained apartment is only metres from the office, amidst quiet streets that are perfect for a gentle morning or evening stroll to assist recuperation.”
Having such accessibility to your surgeon after your procedure/s is essential in your overall peace of mind. Many of the surgeons we feature on our website stress the importance of follow up care and the role it plays in a successful outcome for a patient, and the importance in allowing the patient to recover with less stress and the comfort of knowing they are being well looked after. Being able to talk to your surgeon if you have any concerns can calm your nerves and anxiety, and allow you to focus on the important process of healing.
There is no such thing as perfection, and unfortunately many people go into surgery not having a realistic expectation of outcomes or results. You need to be doing the surgery for yourself and what will make YOU happy, not because you want to create what society thinks is beautiful. If you go into a surgery believing you will come out looking like Angelina Jolie, or Kim Kardashian, you will be disappointed. You need to find a surgeon who is going to work with you to make you the best person you can be and to fix any aesthetic issues that are making you unhappy. Talk to your surgeon (you might need to consult with two or three to find the right one) to make sure they understand your concerns and desires, and understand what is possible and what is not. Extravagant promises by plastic surgeons are dangerous. Check out our database of quality Australian plastic surgeons to ensure you are only considering the best.
A good plastic surgeon will always ensure that their patients are not suffering from any disillusions about what they expect or suffer Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BBD – an excessive preoccupation with a physical defect that may be exaggerated or even imagined in a patient’s mind. Surgery on people with BDD or other serious mental illnesses can exacerbate their symptoms; setting off an increase in depression, mania and/or lead to adjustment problems and self-destructive behaviour).
A positive and realistic state of mind BEFORE surgery will help to ensure that when you come OUT of surgery you are not completely overwhelmed by disappointment. Also, being aware of what you will look like immediately after surgery, one week after surgery, 6 months after surgery and even 5 years after surgery will help prepare you for the changes you are undergoing and what will see in the mirror once the procedure is done.
Dr Mendelson says, “After your surgery, we keep in close contact with our patients as they have post-surgical appointments, wellbeing and healing treatments; and plenty of chats and companionship. As we’ve said, these can be emotional days; especially if you are ‘moving on’ from something in your life, like divorce or grief. But it can also be a time of unexpected psychological growth and insight, which can be a valuable but surprising part of the journey.”
Catching up with Reality
Often, patients have lived their whole lives being unhappy, paranoid or dissatisfied with something about themselves, which is what led them to plastic surgery in the first place. This is why after surgery it can take a while for your brain to catch up and realise you are no longer that “tired, weathered looking person” or “the one with the deep set wrinkles”… You might catch yourself looking in the mirror forgetting or not believing the change in your appearance. It will take a while for your brain to get the confidence it was lacking when you were more insecure about your appearance. This is part of the process to undergo, and the majority of patients have to push through this side of the emotional journey.
Bryan Mendelson is the choice of patients who want to look refreshed and natural without any trace of surgery. He is known for his advanced techniques, surgical skills and personal commitment to patient care. His modern facelift technique is taught around the world and he is regularly invited to perform demonstration surgery at international conferences. If you would like more information on Dr Mendelson click here, or phone his clinic on 03 9826 0977 to arrange a consult.