Postoperative Self-Perception

This audio podcast has been transcribed using an automated service. Please forgive any typographic errors or other transcription flaws.

This podcast is about how you see yourself immediately after a surgical procedure. I’m not talking about a few months later. I’m not talking about a year later. I’m talking about really the first week, although we may touch upon some ideas a month or three months later. So the biggest thing for the first week is no matter, what you had performed, there’s going to be some distortion there where you may not be able to recognize every feature that was there. You may question why you had this done. You may even be depressed at a lady many years ago. That said Dr. Lam, I wish you had told me about the fact that I could be depressed after the first few days after a procedure, because you just feel maybe some discomfort, a little swelling things don’t look exactly, and you don’t recognize yourself a hundred percent. And I have actually a video where I shot that goes through this in detail. And I encourage my patients who are having facial cosmetic surgery to watch it. And the self-perception is so important and I say to put down the mirror and what that basically means is oftentimes, especially for females after a procedure, they’ll look very, very closely at the mirror, maybe eight X magnification, wonder why the left side looks different from the right side, why there’s more bruising on one side versus the other while you know, something is going on.

And I will tell you the good news is that since I shot that video many years ago, there’s been quite a bit of change in terms of the recovery, the nature of the recovery, because of several things. One is for the majority of my patients, they get something called TXE or tranexamic acid, which has greatly reduced bruising for facelifts. I use suction drains for a night that really reduces bruising further for fat grafting, which used to cause the most distortion. Now I use a puregraft system, which causes much less swelling than in the past. So the amount of swelling and bruising and discomfort is really minimized after otoplasty and chin implants. Those are the more uncomfortable procedures I use a product called XPRL. It’s an anesthetic that lasts about two to three days. So that has really made the pain very minimal for the majority of patients.

So pain, not recognizing yourself, bruising has, have all been significantly reduced for the vast majority of my patients. Of course, some people may have more swelling or bruising. Now, the one thing that is true is where the identity rests is oftentimes the eyes. So oftentimes like a facelift doesn’t cause that level of distortion of their mind, of what they see a rhinoplasty, oftentimes also doesn’t necessarily cause that much distortion because there’s a splint on the nose for the first week. So when you’re sort of by yourself at home wondering you’re resting and thinking to yourself all day long, you know, should, I’ve had this procedure done, you know, all those kinds of things that you may start questioning, whether you should have had it done and start staring at the mirror all day. And so where that distortion sits is around the eyes.

And so when the eyes look slightly distorted after a blepharoplasty fat grafting around there, that’s usually where people feel, they’ve lost their identity. Now the one thing that’s really good is that I don’t change people’s identity, at least in the sense that I don’t make you look like a different person, nor do I make you look unnatural. So those are usually the two concerns people have. And if you can at least lay those to rest, then you won’t be so worried that week that that change in identity is going to be something long-term just short term. So I said, I may briefly touch upon change of identity long-term and this is part of that self-perception. But again, this really focus of this podcast is on the first week. But, you know, the great thing with this is that I find that and the studies have found that our self-identity is very mutable.

And other words, we can adapt to changes like when a hump is reduced on the nose, we just assume that’s the something we’re born with. A female patient of mine said that actually in a testimonial, she just felt as if that was the nose that she was born with, or if the eye bags are gone or the jawline is straighter, or let’s say even put a chin implant in, you just feel as if the that’s what you always had. And our brain is very plastic in the sense plastic as you probably know, plastic surgery does not mean something fake plastic means changing. And so our brains being plastic to means that our brains were very mutable and changeable, so we can adapt to that. So, there’s a book by Jonathan Haidt called the happiness hypothesis in which he said that changes to our physical identity can often lead to years of pleasure and happiness for us.

And so I know that, of course, it’s a confirmation bias to read a book that actually supports your surgery and what you do for a living. But it is interesting to look at statistically how we can actually have years of happiness from this. So this video again was sorry, this podcast was really focused on the first week to help support you during your time to support your decision, to help you understand in terms of how you should view that first week is not to stare at yourself all day, but just to relax and know that you made a good choice.

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