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Why Do People Fear Surgery?

If the thought of getting surgery scares you, you’re not alone. Surgical procedures can be intimidating—and it’s not unusual for a person to feel nervous or scared about getting one.

For some people, this fear is more severe. People who have surgical anxiety have a heightened fear of surgery and exhibit physical symptoms such as nausea, chest pain, or palpitations at the thought of surgery. They may also have panic attacks and may delay or avoid getting surgical treatment even if their medical condition worsens without surgery.

Let’s take a closer look at why you might feel afraid of surgeries.

Limited Knowledge About the Procedure

In many cases, the fear of surgery is due to lack of understanding of the surgical procedure and what it entails. You may feel anxious about an upcoming surgery if you aren’t quite sure of what exactly will happen during the procedure. You may also have misconceptions about the surgical procedure that could be fueling your fear.

If you’re not fully aware of what the surgery will look like or what the results will be, you should definitely speak to your surgeon about it. Ask him or her questions and request that they explain the process to you. You should also ask your doctor who’s performing the procedure to give you a realistic idea of the success rate, potential results, and recovery time of that particular procedure. This will help you make a more informed decision.

Fear of the Outcome

Another reason people fear surgery is because they’re afraid of the expected results. This is typically the case when they’re about to undergo a surgical procedure that would alter the appearance of their body. For instance, individuals who require an amputation or a mastectomy are often nervous about the idea of getting surgery because the surgery will change their bodies.

In other examples, surgeries that may affect their sexual function, such as prostate surgery, may make men nervous. Similarly, high-risk surgeries like heart-related procedures, hip or joint replacements, and back surgeries can make people afraid because of perceived uncertainty. All of these feelings are normal, and understanding the procedure and having confidence in your surgeon and his or her team can make you feel more relaxed going in.

Previous Bad Experiences and Memories

If you had an unpleasant experience with surgery in the past, you may be averse to treatment and dread the idea of having to go through another procedure. Fear of hospitals, doctors, and surgery can also develop if you’ve seen a loved one have a bad surgical experience or heard negative stories from other people regarding their medical treatments. Witnessing someone else react fearfully to surgery can affect the way you feel about procedures as well.

If your fear is based on past experiences and memories, speak to your surgeon and have them reassure you. You can also seek counseling for this.

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Surgical Staff at Houston Physicians’ Hospital

The expert surgeons and care team at Houston Physicians’ Hospital understand the fear and nervousness that come with an approaching surgical procedure. We’re here to answer all your questions and put your mind at ease.

If you need a specialty procedure, you can find a doctor who’s right for you on our website. Simply search, select, and then contact their office directly to schedule an appointment.

We also provide physical therapy, joint pain treatments, and spine solutions.