Post Operative Depression
The information in this section is made available through the generous support of Dr. Grant Stevens and Dr. Luis H. Macias.
Post Operative Depression
Breast reduction is an involved surgery that covers a large and sensitive surface area. It is going to take time and rest to heal. But, many times we tend to forget that. As well as your body going through a major trauma, your emotions run the full spectrum while you seek information, visit doctors, and prepare for the surgery. Once you finally make it to the hospital, you are given general anesthesia just prior to and during your surgery. When you wake up in the recovery room you may be given intravenous injections of Morphine (or other very strong narcotic pain medication). At home you will have prescription-strength pain medications as well.
To add to your situation you just had a surgery that changed your body a great deal. You are excited and want to be accepted by the people you love with your new body. You are also held back from enjoying your new body by the recovery process. There are feelings about spending so many years saddled with large breasts and uncertainty of how to define yourself afterwards. You have made a tremendous life change in just a few hours of surgery.
What do you get when you combine all of this? Post-op depression!
Post-op depression is very common for any surgery patient. In most cases, this is a temporary condition that resolves itself within two weeks. Should you have depression that lasts beyond two weeks, please contact your plastic surgeon and/or your primary care physician. They should be notified of your difficulties and there may be medical intervention.
In the meantime, what can you do to help with your depression?
* Don't beat yourself up about it. It's so normal. Give yourself permission to cry and talk about it. Just being able to express your feelings goes a long way towards helping you to feel better.
* Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. This water will help to flush out the large amounts of medication that have been put into your body in a short period of time.
* Eat a sensible diet. Make sure that you are eating healthy food on a regular basis. This will give your body the energy it needs to heal.
* Rest! At BreastHealthOnline we cannot stress this enough. You have been through a lengthy and involved surgery and your body needs every available resource to heal what it perceives as "injuries." Please read Pre op & Post Op Nutrition, Hydration, Healing & Rest for more details on what your body needs post op.
* Relax. Have someone give you a foot massage, hand massage, back rub, or a shoulder and neck rub. Light scented candles and play soft music or allow yourself a good cry. Do what you can to pamper yourself and allow others to pamper you.
Again, if your depression lasts more than two weeks please call your plastic surgeon or primary care physician.