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Pre-Surgical Psychological Evaluations

Many physicians and surgeons require a psychological evaluation before a patient undergoes transplant surgery or other complicated elective surgeries, such as gastric bypass, or neurostimulator implant surgeries. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if there are any problematic psychological factors that may inhibit the patient's successful recovery or adherence to post-surgical instructions. Problems that could impair a patient's ability to function optimally following surgery include depression, anxiety, personality issues such as rebelliousness, substance abuse, or other psychiatric disorders. The evaluation is a comprehensive psychological screening to ensure the optimal treatment outcome for the patient, and to ensure that it is safe for them to proceed with consideration for the procedure. Our staff has extensive experience in pre-surgical evaluations and regularly conducts pre-surgical evaluations for patients undergoing weight loss surgery, neurostimulator implant, and surrogacy.


Bariatric Pre-Surgical Evaluation – FAQs

What is a bariatric pre-surgical evaluation?
A pre-surgical bariatric evaluation consists of assessment of risk factors that could lead to post-surgical complications. These evaluations include an assessment of emotional status, particularly poorly managed anxiety and depressive symptoms, in addition to measures that screen severely maladaptive eating behaviors.

Why am I required to have a bariatric evaluation?
Most insurance companies and surgical weight loss centers require psychological screening prior to undergoing surgical procedures. These evaluations seek to minimize risk factors and prepare patients for post-surgical adjustments.

How long do bariatric evaluations take?
Most evaluations are completed within two to three hours; however, the time varies from patient to patient as some require longer to complete self-report questionnaires.

What do I need to bring to my bariatric evaluation appointment?
A review of medical records is an essential component of these evaluations, as medical compliance and weight histories can be reviewed. Bringing medical records to your appointment expedites the overall process and allows for the clinician to ask questions about information found in a patient’s records. Finalized evaluation profile reports are not typically available to be released to a client and the surgical weight loss center for two weeks after receipt of medical records and any other pertinent information. Please initiate this process of obtaining the last three to five years of medical records prior to your appointment if at all possible. Primary care physicians can choose to mail or fax medical records. For large records, mailing is preferred.

What if I am not cleared for surgery right away?
While most individuals are cleared for surgery upon completion of their initial psychological evaluation, some patients may benefit from further assessment of their emotional functioning, demonstration of improved medical compliance, education about surgical risk factors, or follow up psychological/psychiatric services. If you are not initially cleared, a clinician will provide detailed information about the steps required in order to move to a cleared status. Postponing surgery is not intended to cause distress to patients. Instead, it reflects that there may be additional things that a patient can do in order to maximize postsurgical success and minimize risk factors.

What can I expect during my pre-surgical evaluation?
Bariatric evaluations begin with completion of standard paperwork as well as a self-report questionnaire. This information is then reviewed by a clinician and a brief interview is conducted to gain additional information. After this interview, patients are assisted with the completion of several self-report measures that assess emotional functioning, eating behaviors, and personality traits. This concludes the in-office portion of the evaluation, and the clinician later reviews medical records again and scores all psychological measures administered. After scoring, a psychological evaluation profile report is prepared and released to the surgical weight loss center and the patient. A clinician may choose to follow up with a patient in person or by phone in order to bring attention to any areas of concern and/or to provide additional information. However, this is done at the clinician’s discretion or at the request of a patient.



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