Typical Emotions Experienced after Plastic Surgery

By Dr Jake Lim – Plastic Surgeon | Updated: March 26, 2024

Common Emotions after Getting Plastic Surgery

You’ve just undergone plastic surgery. Whether it was a simple procedure or a major operation, it can be quite an experience. Now, as you lay in the recovery room or at home, you might start to feel a surge of emotions that you weren’t expecting. You should know that going through a range of emotions after plastic surgery is normal.

The anticipation and excitement of finally being able to make that change can overshadow the reality of post-procedure emotions. It’s not just about the physical changes. Your emotional well-being plays a vital role in your recovery. It’s okay to feel a variety of emotions; it’s part of the process. Although we often focus on the physical transformation after plastic surgery, the emotional aspect deserves equal attention. This emotional journey isn’t talked about as often, but it’s an essential part of the healing process.

In this blog, Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Jake Lim will discuss the common emotions that can occur after plastic surgery and recommendations to help you navigate the ups and downs.

Fluctuating Emotions Post-Plastic Surgery

The emotional rollercoaster post-plastic surgery is a term used to describe the fluctuating emotions you might experience after your procedure. It’s perfectly normal to feel a wave of different emotions after plastic surgery, ranging from exhilaration to anxiety, or even depression.

Your body has undergone a significant change, and your mind needs time to process it. You might feel ecstatic one moment, then anxious the next. You might find yourself questioning your decision, feeling regret, or wondering if you’ve made a mistake. These are all typical emotions after plastic surgery, and they are a normal part of the healing process.

Understanding the emotions is the first step. It’s important to remember that there’s no ‘right’ way to feel after plastic surgery. Everyone’s experience is unique, and your emotions are valid, no matter what they are.

Common Emotions Experienced After Plastic Surgery

Let’s discuss some common emotions experienced after plastic surgery. It’s important to note that not everyone will experience all of these emotions, and some may experience others not listed here. The intensity of these emotions can also vary from person to person.

One of the most common emotions is excitement. You’ve taken the step to alter a part of your body. You’ve envisioned this moment for a long time and it’s finally here. But, excitement can swiftly turn into anxiety. You may start worrying about the recovery process, the final result, or how others will react to your changes.

Another common emotion is impatience. The healing process takes time, and results are not immediately visible due to swelling and bruising. You may find yourself feeling frustrated or impatient for the final results to appear. Remember, healing is a process and it takes time.

The Psychological Impact of Plastic Surgery

The psychological impact of plastic surgery is substantial. Having realistic expectations about the outcome is key to your emotional health. If you expect perfection, you might find yourself feeling disappointed or dissatisfied with the results.

You might also experience a lack of control during the recovery period. As you rely on others for help and wait for your body to heal, feelings of helplessness can creep in. It’s important to remember that this is a temporary phase and you will regain your independence.

Additionally, you may experience changes in your social relationships. Some people may react positively to your changes, while others may not. This can result in a range of feelings from joy to sadness, or even isolation.

Dealing with Negative Emotions after Plastic Surgery

Dealing with negative emotions after plastic surgery can be challenging. It’s okay to feel sad, anxious, or regretful. It’s important to allow yourself to feel these emotions rather than suppress them.

One of the most effective ways to deal with negative emotions is to talk about them. Share your feelings with a trusted friend or family member. Sometimes, simply voicing your fears can alleviate them.

Another helpful strategy is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise (once cleared by your plastic surgeon), and ensuring you get plenty of sleep can help boost your mood and energy levels.

Embracing Positive Emotions after Plastic Surgery

As you recover and start to see the results of your surgery, you’ll likely experience many positive emotions. Feelings of joy and self-assurance are common. Embrace these feelings. They are a sign that you are healing not just physically, but emotionally as well.

Take the time to appreciate the changes your body has gone through and the courage it took to make that decision. Allow these positive emotions to encourage you during your recovery process.

Remember, it’s okay to feel proud of your decision to undergo plastic surgery. It’s a personal choice that required bravery and self-awareness.

Tips for Navigating Emotions after Plastic Surgery

Navigating the emotional landscape after plastic surgery is a deeply personal and sometimes challenging journey. Here are some expanded tips to help you through it:

Mental Preparation:

  • Educate Yourself: Before the surgery, educate yourself about the procedure, the recovery timeline, and possible emotional reactions you might encounter
  • Set Realistic Expectations: Talk to Dr Lim about what to expect during the healing process and the realistic outcomes of your surgery
  • Visualise the Process: Use visualisation techniques to imagine yourself going through recovery and coming out feeling positive about the results

Support System:

  • Communicate Openly: Have open discussions with your loved ones about your needs and fears. Let them know how they can support you
  • Build a Recovery Team: Identify friends, family members, or a support group who can be there for you, whether it’s for practical help or emotional support
  • Plan for Assistance: Arrange for someone to help you with daily tasks in the initial stages of recovery when you might be feeling most vulnerable

Positive Outlook:

  • Keep a Gratitude Journal: Write down things you are grateful for each day to keep your spirits up
  • Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate small milestones in your recovery
  • Reframe Negative Thoughts: Practice cognitive reframing to turn negative thoughts into positive ones

Professional Help:

  • Consider Pre-Surgery Counselling: Some people find it helpful to talk to a therapist before surgery to prepare for the emotional impact
  • Post-Surgery Check-Ins: Schedule regular appointments with a counsellor post-surgery to monitor your emotional well-being
  • Therapeutic Techniques: Engage in specific therapeutic techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to manage negative thought patterns

Self-Care and Routine:

  • Develop a Self-Care Routine: Create a routine that includes activities you enjoy and that promote relaxation, such as reading, listening to music, or meditating
  • Stay Physically Active: As soon as Dr Lim allows, engage in light exercise to boost your mood and improve your energy levels
  • Nutrition: Eat a balanced diet that can aid in your physical recovery and also support your emotional health

Mindfulness and Relaxation:

  • Practice Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness meditation to stay grounded and focused on the present
  • Breathing Exercises: Learn and practice deep breathing exercises to help manage moments of anxiety or stress

Creative Outlets:

  • Express Yourself: Use creative expression such as journaling, painting, or music to process your emotions
  • Problem-Solving Strategies: When facing emotional challenges, use problem-solving strategies to address them directly rather than avoiding them

Educational Resources:

  • Read and Research: Read books or credible online resources about others’ experiences with plastic surgery to understand the range of normal emotions that can occur

Patience with Self:

  • Be Patient: Understand that it’s normal for recovery to take time and that emotional ups and downs are part of the process
  • Self-Compassion: Practice self-compassion by speaking to yourself with kindness and understanding

Future Planning:

  • Set New Goals: As you recover, start planning for the future and set new personal goals, which can provide a sense of purpose and direction

Keep in mind that it’s perfectly okay to seek help if you’re struggling. Professional therapists and counsellors are not just a resource for crises; they can be a proactive part of your recovery and an invaluable asset in your journey towards emotional and physical healing after plastic surgery.

Seeking Professional Help for Emotions after Plastic Surgery

If you find yourself unable to manage your emotions after plastic surgery or if your emotions are significantly affecting your quality of life, it might be time to seek professional help.

Mental health professionals are equipped with the skills and knowledge to help you navigate these complex emotions. They can provide you with strategies to manage anxiety, depression, or any other negative emotions you might be experiencing.

Remember, seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. It shows that you are taking control of your emotional health and taking steps towards recovery.

Experiencing a range of emotions after plastic surgery is completely normal. Understanding, acknowledging, and managing these emotions are integral aspects of the recovery process.

FAQs about Emotions after Plastic Surgery


Is it normal to feel regret after undergoing plastic surgery?

  • Yes, it’s not uncommon for patients to experience feelings of regret or doubt immediately after surgery. This can be due to the initial shock of seeing changes, swelling, and bruising. As the healing process progresses and results become more apparent, many patients feel more positive about their decision.

Why do I feel depressed after my procedure?

  • Post-operative depression can be a result of various factors including the physical stress of surgery, reactions to anaesthesia, pain, or the emotional impact of seeing oneself changed. It’s essential to communicate these feelings with your plastic surgeon or seek professional counselling if they persist.

Is it normal to feel anxious about the healing process?

  • Absolutely. Anxiety about the recovery process, potential complications, and whether the final results will align with your expectations is common. It’s essential to maintain open communication with your plastic surgeon and follow post-operative care instructions to alleviate some of these concerns.

Why do I feel like everyone is staring at me after my surgery?

  • After undergoing a noticeable change, it’s natural to feel self-conscious or believe that others are more focused on you than they actually are. This heightened self-awareness typically diminishes as you adjust to your new appearance and as others around you adapt as well.

Why do I feel numb or disconnected from the operated area?

  • Numbness or a feeling of disconnection can be a result of nerve disruption during surgery. As the nerves heal and regenerate, sensation often returns gradually. However, it’s essential to discuss any prolonged numbness with your plastic surgeon to ensure there are no underlying complications.

Is it common to feel unsatisfied with the results, even if the surgery was successful?

  • Yes, some patients may feel unsatisfied even after a technically successful surgery. Expectations play a significant role in this. It’s crucial to have realistic expectations and to communicate openly with your surgeon before the procedure. If dissatisfaction persists, consider discussing revision options or seeking psychological support.

Will my emotional response to the surgery change over time?

  • Many patients experience a range of emotions post-surgery, from elation to regret. As the body heals and one adjusts to the new appearance, these emotions often stabilise. However, if negative feelings persist, it’s essential to seek support, whether from your surgeon, a therapist, or support groups.

Further Reading about Plastic Surgery

Medical References about Emotions after Plastic Surgery

About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.