Adjusting to Your New Self After Surgery
Any change worth having seems to take some getting used to. Cosmetic surgery, designed to change your appearance for the better, is no exception. A few reasons for this include:
- Surgery is an investment of time, finances, and discomfort. Although we want to see an immediate return on our investments, it takes time to reach your final appearance.
- Depending on the area of your body and the emotional or sexual significance of that area, a change in appearance may take some time to get used to. A feature that someone was teased about, or an area of scarring from prior trauma may be examples of this.
- Expectations can greatly influence satisfaction after surgery. If our mental concept of our post-surgical appearance is different from the actual appearance, this may require acclimation. Dr. McDaniel will take the time to understand your expectations. He encourages you to consider your goals in order to discuss them at your consultation.
The Adjustment Timeline
Day 1 after surgery – Fatigue is likely to be present from the anesthesia and less sleep.
Week 1 – There will be swelling present the first day after surgery which may worsen over the next several days. Bruising may also be significant, and it is common for patients to be worried about their appearance or to believe that something is wrong with the operation.
1 – 2 Weeks – Bruising and swelling will begin to improve, and the discomfort will get better each day.
2 – 8 Weeks – Swelling and bruising decrease, the surgical results are refined, and a “new normal” is realized. There is often a mix of emotions that occurs with this adjustment. At this point, patients feel “back to normal,” but activity restrictions are still in place, which can be challenging.
2 – 6 Months – Once all of the symptoms and swelling are gone, surgery becomes a memory and not a part of life. Your new normal becomes just… you. Often patients are excited to show off their improved features.