Women’s Institute of Cosmetic and Laser Surgery: Easing Surgical Anxiety



Women’s Institute of Cosmetic and Laser Surgery offers both surgical and nonsurgical solutions to women throughout the greater Chicago area. They often see patients who are nervous in the weeks leading up to their procedures. For some individuals, this anxiety inhibits their ability to sleep or eat normally. Using a variety of coping strategies, it’s easy to reduce these fears and feel confident as you prepare for surgery.

What is surgical anxiety?

This condition is when a patient’s fear about surgery is so powerful that it causes nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations, or other physical symptoms. Those with anxiety disorders are often more prone to surgical anxiety, but many patients feel the effects when they have an operation for the first time. The cause of surgical anxiety varies; some patients have a fear of the unknown, while others have had a bad experience previously.


How to ease the issue

Without treatment of this problem, the patient’s health can suffer. The stress can cause physical symptoms, which causes the patient to feel even more upset. This can create a dangerous cycle. This may cause the individual to have to postpone or cancel the procedure.

To fight this anxiety, a patient should work to educate themselves about the procedure they will undergo. Many patients who fear the unknown find that their anxiety subsides when they understand exactly what will happen to them when they go under the knife. Reading about success stories is another important tool in managing fear. For a patient who fears a negative result, hearing about thousands of other people who have successfully undergone the same procedure can help to reassure them that the operation will turn out well. Dr. Jennifer Hein, a cosmetic surgeon, recommends that anxious individuals speak with their doctor.  If they have that much worry about their upcoming procedure, they may wish to rethink having it.  If they are still sure it is still what they want, they may then ask if they can speak with past patients about their success with having the procedure. Hearing about the competency of their own surgeon often helps to relieve nerves.

For those who have had a negative surgical experience in the past, expressing these concerns to your current surgeon is essential. This individual can talk to you about why this procedure is different and about why a positive outcome is expected. Some physicians may even provide anti-anxiety medication if your nerves become severe.

Some patients benefit from utilizing relaxation techniques prior to their operation. Many find that yoga or meditation are useful ways to calm their minds and feel better about their procedure. Others enjoy writing in a journal, since it gives them a chance to express their fears without judgment from others. Some studies show that reading a book during the preoperative phase is a helpful technique, since it helps to distract a patient from the upcoming surgery. Others find that listening to their favorite music puts them in the proper mindset to calm down and face the surgery without fear.

Women’s Institute of Cosmetic and Laser Surgery encourages patients to understand the root of their anxiety. Knowing that your fears in many cases come from a lack of understanding about the procedure makes it easier to soothe your nerves. Women’s Institute of Cosmetic and Laser Surgery advises patients to have an honest conversation with their doctors about their pre-surgery nerves. 



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