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Safeguarding your Mental Health throughout the Cosmetic Surgery Journey

#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth | Monday 1st May - Wednesday 31st May 2023

Cosmetic surgery has become increasingly popular over the years, with more and more people opting for various procedures to enhance their appearance. While the physical benefits of these surgeries are often emphasized, it's essential to consider the impact surgery can have on your mental health, as well as the influence one's mental health can have on the decision to go ahead with surgery.

According to the latest study by, 1 in 4 people living in England will experience a mental health problem of some kind, each year. Body dysmorphia (BDD), is a mental health condition where a person becomes preoccupied with perceived flaws in their appearance that are usually unnoticeable to others. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (September 2022), BDD affects approximately 2.5% of the general population, with nearly equal rates in men and women. It typically develops in adolescence or early adulthood and can persist throughout a person's lifetime if left untreated. This disorder can cause significant distress and interfere with a person's ability to function in daily life. 

Cosmetic surgery can be a life-changing experience for many people, offering them the opportunity to boost their confidence and self-esteem. However, it's important to be aware of the potential risks associated with these procedures, not only physically, but mentally.

Here are some useful tips to help you take care of your mental health during and after cosmetic surgery:

1. Manage Your Expectations

One of the most important things you can do before undergoing cosmetic surgery is to manage your expectations. It's essential to understand that, whilst it is life-changing for many, cosmetic surgery is not a magic cure for all your problems, and it may not lead to the results you expect.

Make sure you have realistic expectations for what the surgery can achieve and discuss your goals with your surgeon beforehand. They can help you understand what is and isn't possible and provide you with a realistic idea of what to expect.

2. Choose the Right Surgeon

Choosing the right surgeon is crucial to ensuring the best possible outcome for your surgery. It's important to research potential surgeons thoroughly and choose someone who is experienced and qualified in the specific procedure you are interested in.

Don't be afraid to ask for references or read reviews from previous patients to get an idea of the surgeon's track record. Additionally, it's essential to feel comfortable with your surgeon and trust them to deliver the results you desire.

You can find all of our surgeons and doctors on RealSelf review platform. RealSelf is the largest, most trusted online resource for people wanting to learn about plastic surgery and other cosmetic procedures—and connect with top doctors and aesthetic providers. here are some of our reviews:

3. Take Care of Your Physical Health

Taking care of your physical health can play a significant role in protecting your mental health in the run-up to and during cosmetic surgery. Make sure you are in good overall health before undergoing any procedures, and follow all pre-surgery instructions provided by your surgeon.

Additionally, be sure to take care of yourself after the surgery, including getting plenty of rest and following any post-surgery instructions. This can help reduce the risk of complications and promote a faster and smoother recovery.

4. Address Underlying Mental Health Issues

It's important to address any underlying mental health issues you may have before undergoing cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery should never be used as a substitute for proper mental health treatment, and it's crucial to work on any emotional or psychological issues before undergoing any procedures.

Additionally, it's important to discuss any concerns or anxiety you may have about the surgery with your surgeon and/or patient coordinator beforehand. They can provide you with support and resources to help you manage your emotions and feel more comfortable throughout the process.

5. Be Prepared for the Recovery Period

The recovery period after cosmetic surgery can be a challenging time, both physically and mentally. It's essential to prepare yourself for this period and have a support system in place to help you through it.

This support system can include family and friends who can help take care of you and offer emotional support, as well as mental health professionals who can help you cope with any anxiety or depression you may experience during the recovery period. Take a look at this Tummy Tuck Recovery Guide to help you get an idea of what comes after. 

6. Don't Ignore Your Mental Health

Finally, it's important not to ignore your mental health throughout the cosmetic surgery process. It's easy to become focused on the physical aspects of the procedure and ignore the emotional impact it can have.

Take the time to check in with yourself and prioritize your mental health throughout the process. This can include things like seeking therapy or counseling, practicing self-care, and taking breaks when you need them.

Mental Health & Cosmetic Surgery Takeaways

In conclusion, protecting your mental health during cosmetic surgery is essential to ensuring a positive outcome. By managing your expectations, choosing the right surgeon, taking care of your physical health, addressing underlying mental health issues, being prepared for the recovery period, and prioritising your mental health, you can minimise the potential risks and achieve the results you desire.

It is important to equip yourself with all the right questions when attending consultations, so that you leave feeling fully informed. As well as questioning your surgeon, you should continue to question your own reasons for wanting surgery and whether or not the decision is right for you or if the time is right, or if your expectations are realistic. Your surgeon will always be on hand to manage your expectations, as well as help you decide if surgery  is right for you.

Medically reviewed by

Amir Nakhdjevan Profile

Amir Nakhdjevani

Last Updated: June 28, 2023

Published On: May 3, 2023

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