It’s natural to be afraid of the unknown. So, it’s no surprise when many first-time plastic surgery patients experience pre-op jitters. Fear of incisions, fear of pain, fear of general anesthesia and the underlying fear: will I wake up after the surgery?

Some of these fears are valid. Others are baseless. The common denominator is the patient’s lack of knowledge and experience with plastic surgery procedures such as rhinoplasty or a facelift. This is why it’s important to consult with your plastic surgeon before the surgery. It helps to be familiar with your physician. While it’s also important to do the preliminary research on your plastic surgeon of choice, the consultation process is the ice-breaker. Here, you will get to know your physician, his or her bedside manner, sense of humor or lack of it, and general personality and skill set. This in and of itself helps to relieve anxiety and ease pre-surgery fears.

Prepare yourself mentally and physically before your surgery as well. A focused patient is a less fearful patient. By the same token, a healthy patient is in better condition to cope with fear and stress. You must also be aware of the risks of the procedure as well as the benefits. Your plastic surgeon will be able to explain both and help you to decide if the procedure is right for you. A thorough understanding of the procedure and the process can help to settle fears.

For the more mobile tech savvy patient concerned about the risks associated with plastic surgery, there’s an app for that. It’s called TouchSurgery, which allows you to view intra-operative videos and simulated operations on your Smartphone or tablet computer.

Lastly, concentrate on your reasons for having the surgery and don’t get sidetracked by irrational fears of what might or might not happen during and after the procedure. And don’t be afraid to talk to your plastic surgeon and to be open and as frank as possible about your specific procedure. Knowing what to expect will help ease your fears associated with plastic surgery.

Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contact The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at 757.389.5850 for a personal consultation.