A person’s imagination can wreak total havoc on a peaceful mind long before cosmetic surgery. What will it feel like being unconscious? Will I wake up from the anesthesia? Images of losing control or worse begin to build up in the mind, and so does the stress and anxiety. The old adage “knowledge is power” goes a long way for the patient about to undergo cosmetic surgery.

Knowing that the procedure is generally safe, that the anesthesiologist knows what he or she is doing, and that the surgeon is a highly skilled physician, all are useful thoughts to keep in mind when preparing for surgery. It basically comes down to having faith and trust in the facts as well as your surgeon.

However, when the power of knowledge fails to quell the demons of fear and apprehension, there are still other useful ways to ease pre-surgical stress and anxiety. A mild sedative can be an effective medication for anxiety. If you feel this might help, talk with your surgeon. For those who don’t like pills, there are various relaxation techniques that can help, such as yoga, deep, rhythmic breathing exercises, aromatherapy, and music therapy. Massage is especially good at loosening up muscles and reducing physical tension, while positive visualization in the Deepak Chopra vein helps to reframe one’s fears into positive imagery and lessen anxiety. Try picturing an image of your nose without that unsightly hump or your more youthful and rejuvenated face every time you start to feel tense about surgery.

Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated is also known to fight anxiety, not to mention a good walk in the park or physical workout at the gym. Physical activity releases the brain’s natural pain killer endorphins and tones down the stress levels. For the spiritually inclined, the Zen-like state of “mindfulness” eliminates anxious thoughts and promotes relaxation.  A good dose of Vitamin B complex, moreover, is essential for the body’s ability to combat stress and anxiety naturally.

Since information is still your best anti-anxiety “med,” be sure to discuss your fears and apprehensions with your qualified cosmetic surgeon. It will help you sleep better at night.

Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon located in Virginia Beach. He can be reached at The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at 757.389.5850 for a personal consultation.