Depression After Plastic Surgery

The goal of these blog articles is to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly with regard to facial cosmetic surgery. Depression is an ugly word but it is important to mention it to understand when someone experiences it after plastic surgery. Depression may arise during the first week or few weeks after a procedure during the recovery phase. Some people suffer some discomfort and a loss of one’s identity that can affect them negatively. Sometimes they lose support from loved ones where they hear words like, “Mom, why did you have this procedure done? I liked you more before you did it.” Obviously, these hateful words were probably not intended to be rude but they were said without much forethought in many cases. I had one patient who came to my office crying at a week. She reported that she was staying at a hotel by herself because her home was being remodeled and her husband was out of town. All she had was a week to think about her procedure and to look at her swollen face all the time.

At one week, identity can be altered and one might undergo depression.

To help individuals through their depression, I try to help them meditate and focus on relaxation exercises.  I have many of these types of videos on my Web site that seem to provide patient’s comfort and solace.  In addition, I try to get them into my office as frequently as possible to show them their progress with their before and after photographs because many times one forgets what they used to look like or how much reduction in swelling and distortion can occur in just a matter of a few days time.  In addition, I encourage them not to stare at the mirror, which can drive anyone crazy.  Finally, I inspire my patients to not return to work or to school with a heavy heart and a negative attitude because that can inform how other people view and treat you that may be interpreted as a negative perspective on the work you had done.  These things seem to help an individual navigate the difficult first 1 to 2 weeks after a procedure, or for some individuals even the first month or so afterward (although this long a recovery time is quite rare).

Samuel M. Lam, MD, FACS is a board certified facial plastic surgeon in Dallas, Texas. To learn more about Dr Lam’s fat grafting procedures please call 972.312.8188 to schedule a consultation. If you would like to ask Dr Lam a question about fat transfer please visit our fat grafting forum.