Pre-Bariatric Surgery Psychological Evaluation
What is Bariatric Pre-Surgical Psychological Evaluation?
If you’re considering bariatric surgery or have already chosen to move forward with this weight loss procedure, you will likely need to complete a pre-surgical psychological evaluation. Insurance providers commonly require these services before surgical treatments, including bariatric surgery. This ensures your safety and success before, during, and after your surgical procedure by helping you reflect on your goals, understand your treatment plan, and ensure you feel confident moving forward with your bariatric surgery.
Who Should Receive Bariatric Pre-Surgical Psychological Evaluation?
Insurance providers will likely require you to undergo bariatric pre-surgical psychological evaluation. These evaluations are required to give patients an opportunity to talk through their goals and plans with a skilled professional. If you haven’t decided whether or not you want to go through with bariatric weight loss surgery, completing a bariatric pre-surgical psychological evaluation may help you with your decision-making process. It’s important for patients to understand that a history of mental illness does not necessarily mean they will be denied coverage for bariatric surgery. These assessments are used to help your insurance providers and medical doctors determine how likely you are to safely and successfully achieve your weight loss goals with bariatric surgery.
What Kind of Testing is Involved?
The pre-surgical psychological evaluations will include one or more assessments and a clinical interview. Prior to your clinical interview, we ask that you complete a short, background questionnaire. We will use the results of this assessment to guide the clinical interview. This sounds very formal, but actually this is a relaxed conversation. It’s important that you talk openly with your psychologist at this time. In most cases, we will schedule the clinical interview appointment later on the same day that you complete your assessment or soon after. We want your clinician to have the necessary time to review your answers without making you wait too long for results or delaying your treatment.
During your clinical interview, you will be asked to discuss why you’re interested in bariatric surgery. We’ll walk you through your weight loss and diet history. We’ll discuss current dietary and lifestyle changes you’re making in preparation for surgery, and your clinician will spend time discussing your expectations following treatment. Bariatric surgery brings with it numerous lifestyle changes for some people, and we will help you evaluate your support system and living situation to better understand how your environment impacts your chances for success. We will also discuss past and present psychological symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments. The psychologist will also help you evaluate your risk for psychological symptoms following the bariatric procedure.
The role of the psychologist during the clinical interview is three-fold – they collect information, educate about emotions, and address concerns as they arise. Using your assessments as a guide, the clinician will help you to become emotionally educated about the potential impact life-changing bariatric weight loss surgery can have. During these sessions, patients may experience stress or need help talking through a concern. In addition to preparing you for treatment, the psychologist will also help you process any concerns as they arise during the discussion.
After your pre-surgical psychological evaluation, you will need to complete a few additional assessments that will have questions to help us better understand your thought process, goals, and areas of strength and weakness. The assessments typically take about an hour to complete, but every patient is different. If you need extra time to answer thoughtfully, let our team know. We’ll do our utmost to accommodate you. These assessments are created as a set of rating scales that should be easy to understand, but please don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. We will compile the information from your pre-assessment, clinical interview, and post-interview assessments and provide a report for you, your insurer, and your bariatric surgeon. If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask during your visit, or call our office to follow up. We’re here to help when you need us.