Cosmetic surgery and emotional well-being
Deciding to go under the knife can be an emotional experience. There may be excitement at the prospect of a ‘new you’ but at the same time anxiousness about the procedure. Negative feelings of shame and anxiety are often endured by patients pre-op, post-op and in consultations. These feelings come about when thinking about having to get undressed, discussing and having pre-op photos taken of a body part that is disliked and all of which create extra distress for the patient. Most will do their best to carry on, but these feelings can interfere with information provided during the consultation process and instead of focusing on the extremely important information provided by the surgeon they are doing their best to control their anxiety.
There are patients that complain they were not prepared for the reality of cosmetic surgery and they tell of the upset created by the lack of emotional support in their experience of cosmetic surgery. Of course, surgeons do their best to spend time with their patients and put them at ease when they explain what can be realistically achieved. They discuss fully the physical risks of the surgery and take time to address any concerns in the consultation. There is, however, a lot of information for the patient to take in and they should be given time and space to absorb all the information provided and then have access to a qualified counsellor to discuss any further emotional concerns.
The Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and many other medical governing organisations recommend that appropriate psychological support should be provided to all patients seeking cosmetic procedures.
There is currently a team of surgeons and psychologists working together around the country to create a specific psychological screening tool for those undergoing cosmetic procedures. Psychologists help with the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Cosmetic patients are not generally mentally ill and screening tools alone will not offer the emotional support the patient requires.
People often think that counsellors only need to get involved when cosmetic surgery goes wrong or if a surgeon feels a patient is not suitable for surgery. However, this creates a lost opportunity to increase patient safety and satisfaction with the outcome. By talking with a qualified counsellor, the client can make the decision to go ahead with confidence and realistic expectations or seek further psychological support. It is crucial that expectations are realistic when having a cosmetic procedure to allow for positive outcomes. Being emotionally well will increase the overall satisfaction of the experience. After surgery counselling is important to help the patient come to terms with their ‘new body’.
Here at ASET Hospital we have a holistic approach with our patients who are interested in cosmetic procedures. We have our very own ‘in house’ Emotional Well-being Practitioner to support patients before and after surgery, until discharge. This service is extended to partners and family to support them with their loved ones dramatic body/facial changes achieved by surgery.
The decision to undergo a cosmetic procedure is a BIG one and should not be taken lightly. ASET Hospital staff are here to support you when making your decision, even if that means not going ahead with surgery!