How to Handle Pre-Surgery Nerves and Anxiety

If you have an upcoming surgery, you may experience anxiety and pre-surgery jitters. Although this can be common, if your anxiety is severe, it may hinder your recovery. Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to help your surgical process feel less intimidating.

Why am I feeling like this?

There can be various reasons why you may feel anxious before surgery. Common surgical anxiety triggers include:

  • Concerns about the desired outcome
  • Fearing complications
  • Financial burden
  • Type of anesthesia
  • The extent of the operation
  • Feeling guilty about doing something for yourself

It is very important to remember that you are not alone in feeling this way. Be honest with yourself and your surgeon about how you are feeling. Talk to your surgeon about your concerns so that they may be addressed. Having a good rapport with the surgeon is beneficial.

Seek help if you have severe anxiety.

Negative emotions can slow down your recovery by adding unneeded stress and creating an increased feeling of pain. Surgical anxiety may feel like:

  • Chest pain
  • Racing heart
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

Do I have support after the procedure?

Having someone at home with you once you’ve been discharged from the hospital is extremely important so that you do not overexert yourself and potentially cause complications. You will need post-procedure support for:

  • Transportation from the hospital and to post-op appointments until driving restrictions are cleared
  • Medication help
  • Bandage changes
  • Emotional support


Get informed.

Surgical fear and anxiety may be caused by the fear of the unknown. Ask your surgeon questions and make sure you have a complete understanding of the procedure beforehand. How?

  • Make a list of questions
  • Ask what will happen during the operation
  • Ask about follow up care
  • Ask about pain management

Your plastic surgeon should review information and instructions with you, but it may be beneficial to bring with a spouse, friend, or family member to listen and retain the information as well. Understanding the surgical process should help you feel more at ease and safe with your decision.