1. Random meltdowns
You were worried going into surgery. A few helpful friends shared horror stories of their own cosmetic surgery experiences or, better yet, sent you links to the latest “fake surgeon operating out of a garage” story. But now a couple of days have passed, and you’re doing OK. In fact, you’re wondering what all the fuss was about. You’re getting around without help, piddling in the kitchen, and thinking that maybe a few yoga stretches wouldn’t hurt anything. You’re pretty sore, but you’re handling it. In fact, you’re kind of feeling like a warrior woman in an armor of foam & velcro compression garments that would make your average Victorian princess cry for mercy. No doubt about it. You are the same resilient, independent badass you always have been. Then it happens. Maybe you’re maneuvering into the shower, or reaching for something you’ve dropped, or you’re just alone for the first time after surgery when the waterworks start. You’re crying and you have no idea why, but you suddenly feel deeply, existentially sad. We’ve known for some time that up to 75% of people experience post-surgical depression. But, cosmetic surgeons rarely discuss it with their patients beforehand. The good news is that it is temporary, nearly always resolving within 6 months. The causes are multifactorial and may include the effects of anesthetics, antibiotics and narcotics, altered sleep and digestion, and the physical changes, however positive, which can leave you feeling disoriented. I also suspect that the quiet time necessary for healing causes us to face feelings about ourselves and our lives normally masked by our day to day busy-ness. My best advice? Accept your feelings as a normal response to a big transition. Reach out to your friends, gently exercise (a long walk is an amazing tool), and consider speaking to a counselor…after all, you’re already taking time off!
Your milk’s come in…and you’re not even pregnant! Whether it is the breast massage recommended by many surgeons or the pressure of the breast implants themselves it is not uncommon to experience spontaneous lactation after breast augmentation.
3. You Actually Lose More Weight
A 2013 study in the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgery revealed that many women undergoing abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) had lasting weight loss at one year post-op, above and beyond the fat removed at surgery. Anecdotally, I’ve known several patients who remained slimmer following cosmetic surgeries. Whether it is increased self-esteem, feeling more comfortable in gym shorts, or the neuroendocrine shifts that come with reducing fat cell produced hormones that affect appetite, you can’t beat immediate and long-term benefits.
4. The “PM Puffies”
You may think of liposuction as an immediate fix. But, the truth is that some swelling, lumpiness, and numbness commonly lasts for up to six months with subtle tightening for another year. Most folks see 80% of their liposuction results at one month; which is also when you stop wearing compression garments. Following that you may find that, like a sprained ankle, the liposuctioned areas may look flat and defined in the morning and be slightly puffy by evening or after several hours of more vigorous activity. This too shall pass.
5. You Embrace The “Ugly”
Strange thing about us humans, once we know that something is within reach it doesn’t seem so urgent. Just knowing that you can alter your physical appearance can prompt a survey of which things feel undesirable, which things you want to enhance, and which “imperfections” make you, you. Knowing that we are choosing to love, or at least live with, a distinctive feature makes us less self-conscious and more confident.