Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Getting Used to a New You (How to Emotionally Recover from Cosmetic Surgery)

Who's Most At Risk for Depression After Plastic Surgery?
Are you a candidate for the post-surgery blues?
Are you a candidate for the post-surgery blues?
Blend Images/Jon Feingersh/Getty Images

Some people sail through their plastic surgery with no problem. But certain groups of people don't feel any emotional relief--and may be more likely to experience depression after their plastic surgery [source: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery]. Who's likeliest to get the post-surgery blues?

  • Anyone who goes into the procedure with unrealistic expectations is often disappointed by the results. If you're aiming for perfection, you're not likely to find it at the end of a plastic surgeon's knife.
  • Those who have surgery for the wrong reasons -- for example, a woman who bows to her boyfriend's desire for bigger breasts might not be happy living with a larger chest.
  • People with a history of anxiety, depression or personality disorders are likely to be just as unhappy after their surgery as they were before it. Research finds that many people who decide to have plastic surgery are already suffering from depression. In one study, half of all plastic surgery patients had taken an antidepressant or other drug for a mental disorder in the past [source: Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery].
  • People who have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are more likely to undergo plastic surgery -- and are less likely to find relief from it. They're so obsessed with a flaw they're convinced they have, that no amount of surgery may be able to help. [source: Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience]
  • Men are more susceptible to post-surgical depression because they tend to be stoic and not ask for the support they need [source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons].

These groups of people may need to be counseled before having surgery. Also, careful screening before surgery can ensure that the right candidate is paired with the right procedure.

On the next page, you'll learn how to go into your plastic surgery with the right expectations so you won't walk away unhappy afterward.