Undergoing plastic surgery is a personal journey that can be filled with many taxing stages both physically and emotionally.
For some, the results are not everything they thought they'd be, while others couldn't be more satisfied with the experience of going under the knife.
1. "I had a bilateral breast reduction (with some liposuction in the area under my armpits), and it was the best decision! My mom had had one at 40, so it was always in the back of my mind that one day I might as well. I had it done at 35, and it’s made such a positive impact on my life. I went from a G cup to a C, and my back doesn’t hurt, it’s easier to shop for clothes, and my posture has improved. I was nervous and felt a little guilty about having elective surgery, but it’s honestly been the best thing I’ve done for myself."
2. "I got a couple moles on my face removed, and although the changes were very minor to everyone else, I was SUPER freaked out for a while afterward. I felt like I looked wrong or worse than before. After a while, I was very happy and wish I had done it sooner, but be prepared for any change you make to your face to mess with your mind at first."
3. "I got my nose done because I had a huge bump from a cheerleading accident. The first couple days post-op were painful, but it was so worth it. I feel so much more confident. It obviously didn’t completely fix my self-image, but it greatly improved it. Best decision I ever made."
4. "I had a tummy tuck over three years ago after losing 140 pounds (without surgery). I had been one that thought I would never get plastic surgery. After three years of working my butt off to lose weight, I still didn’t look as good as I thought I could because of the skin on my stomach. I went for a consultation to just see what it would be."
5. "I got my nose done because of a babysitting accident, leaving it crooked and my septum so unaligned I could barely breathe. At first I was nervous, as my nose previously was beautiful and so well suited for my face. When I met my surgeon he told me my nose will look different, so I need to be prepared for how I'll feel afterward. He was right because when I finished healing, my nose was different. It was perfect. A little too perfect for me."
6. "I got a breast reduction when I was 20. My breasts were a J cup and caused me to have poor posture and chronic back pain. It took about two years of jumping through hoops before I finally got a doctor to refer me to a plastic surgeon, and it took one letter from that plastic surgeon for the surgery to be approved by insurance. Surgery went well, along with post-surgery. Twelve years later, I have no regrets with getting a reduction. I went from a J cup to a C/D cup. I have better posture now and have less back pain, and I get to wear cute bras instead of beige monstrosities."
7. "I had my breasts enlarged. I’d always been so self-conscious, as I felt really out of proportion. I went abroad for surgery (from the UK I went to Prague), as it was so SO much cheaper. They did an excellent job, listened to my concerns, and opted for under the muscle implants for a more natural look. It’s been a year since the operation now, and I couldn’t be happier! It was painful at first, but that’s to be expected."
8. "I had a rhinoplasty in 2018, and I’m so glad I did. It looks so natural that only a few people noticed, despite my nose being straightened, slightly refined, and done with 30% less nasal tip. It cost $10,000, and recovery was a hazy breeze of sleeping in a recliner for a week. I would not have that luxury now that I’m a parent. The procedure took two hours and was done by a highly rated doctor I’d found four years earlier on RealSelf. The ONLY downside was that I was too out of it at my post-op to hear the doctor say I could stop wearing the bandages after a week, so I wore surgical tape for two weeks at my new job. My airways aren’t as open as they used to be, but it’s very minor, and I’m sure I could breathe better than most people with the size of my old nasal passages."
9. "I had a breast augmentation last year because I was unhappy with the size and had 'tubular deformity' in my breasts. Best decision I ever made for myself! Due to COVID I ended up waiting for my surgery date for two years, and so I had a lot of time to think about my options and to be sure this was the right decision for me. I went back and forth on implant size so many times over the two years. In the end I actually decided on the smallest implant offered to suit my frame and 'breast footprint.' I'm very glad I did — I feel the size suits my frame, and I feel totally comfortable and happy with my new breasts!"
"My advice would be to: 1) Take the time to really listen to your surgeon – learn the potential risks and what having the surgery could mean for your future (including health, appearance, and cost!), 2) Only ever do it for yourself, and do it in your own time and on your terms, and 3) (Breast augmentation-specific) People on forums and even people you know might go on about ‘boob greed’ and advise anyone who asks to go for the biggest implant offered. This is not the best decision for every person. It wasn’t the best decision for me, and I’m so glad I did not take this advice. Listen to yourself and remember, this is a huge change to your body and your self-image — not a decision to be taken lightly!"
10. "I've always had a problem with my boobs because they were very asymmetrical. I waited until I was 18 and then 21, but I realised the problem was not going to go away. So in 2018, when I was 23, I decided to have them done. It is the best decision I have ever made. I always had to use some sort of filler on my left one to make them 'seem' that they were the same size, and being able to just put on a bra and forget about everything else is life-changing."
11. "I had abdominoplasty this past June after sustaining a 160-pound weight loss. I feel stupid now because even though I knew it was major surgery, when they said a four to six week recovery I assumed it would be easy. It was two weeks of abdominal drains (and no shower) and another two of not being able to stand up. At the four-week mark, part of my incision split (I promise I followed all of the rules!), and I was told that 'It happens.' It's currently disgusting to look at (though not super painful). So now I get to have it repaired this week, miss more work, and continue to be hunched over! The reality of it has been disappointing, mostly due to my own naivety."
12. "I had a rhinoplasty done at 37 after wanting it since I was a teenager. I had a big bump on my nose that made me very self-conscious, and I hated my profile. I finally had half the funds to do it and charged the rest. This nose runs in my family, so I knew what to expect for the healing process. I am happy with the results, but I don't look as different overall as I was hoping. I definitely set an unrealistic expectation of how much my overall looks would change. But I am still happy I did it!"
13. "I got a breast augmentation on June 20, 2018. Five years before surgery, I lost 60 pounds through exercise and well- balanced meals. My breasts deflated (they looked like flaccid penises), and I was very self-conscious. Breast augmentation was the best decision! I went back to my normal size, 36D, and I feel happy. Recovery was very easy and mostly pain- free, and my family was very supportive."
14. "I had a nose job about 10 years ago, and I am so much happier now. I hated my nose, got bullied because of it, and I was so unhappy with the way that I looked. I talked to several surgeons and chose the one I had the best feeling about. Now my nose doesn’t control my life anymore, and I am much happier. Just some advice: Make sure you know exactly what you want when you talk to a doctor, just so you don’t get talked into something you don’t want. Even being happy with the results, you still need to take time to accept how you look (if you don’t, that’s why artists keep getting plastic surgery)."
15. "I had a chin implant placed in six years ago, as I've had a very recessed chin all my life. Within weeks after the surgery, I developed hives all over my face that wouldn't go away. I suspected that this was a reaction to the titanium screws that had been used to hold the implant in place. I saw multiple doctors. One even told me it was 'impossible' to be allergic to titanium. I was miserable, itchy, and covered in hives on my face for FIVE YEARS before I found a doctor who took my condition seriously. The screws were removed, and now I'm back to normal!"
16. "After a nose job, your nose isn’t REALLY healed until two years after the fact. You might love it initially, but it will change during that time, and there’s a high chance you won’t like it after it’s healed. My nose job was great until it actually healed. Now it’s crooked and obviously collapsing on one side from the surgeon removing too much."
17. "I got a rhinoplasty at age 24 after hearing my mom talk about how bad 'our noses' were. … The surgery went well, but one of the splints migrated from my nose to my throat and settled on my vocal cord — it was the most painful thing about the entire process, and I had no voice until a week later when they discovered the issue."
"While I’m thrilled with the outcome (even though it's slightly crooked because of the displaced splint), there was a week where I thought my vanity had cost me my ability to speak, read to my future children, and sing in the car. … That wasn’t easy to come to terms with, and I would have to think quite a bit before having more work done."
18. "I had a breast reduction two months ago. I went from an I cup to somewhere around a C/D cup. I had thought about getting one for a few years but finally decided to go forward with it. I was tired of the upper back pain, tingling in my shoulder blades, and the constant gaze to my chest. It's literally changed my life. My confidence has skyrocketed."
19. "I recently got a BBL+lipo 360 on August 3, 2022. I had never had surgery and was terrified of being put under. I sucked it up and went through the process. Plus I paid my money, so there was no turning back. Long story short, I got there at 6:30 a.m. and was home by 9:30 a.m. I remember them starting the IV, then walking to the procedure room and lying on the table. A mask was place over my nose and mouth, and I was told to take three deep breaths."
20. "I’m a trans guy and had top surgery (bilateral mastectomy) last year. I was expecting it to be much worse than it actually was — the pain was manageable, and the recovery wasn’t bad. My surgeon did a great job and was very honest but kind about what to expect. I ended up learning some strange things about how recovery works, since your body is so used to feeling a certain way that it feels weird when something gets removed or reshaped."
"I never liked having boobs and very much wanted that surgery for a long time, but I felt off because this part of me was gone. I was not expecting phantom boob sensations, but that’s what I got. The recovery was humbling, though. I’ve always had body image issues, but seeing myself all bruised and bloated after surgery forced me to look at things differently, and I’ve been a little kinder to myself ever since. Overall, it was a great experience. I feel more like myself than I ever have."
Note: Some answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.