Evaluations for Bariatric, Spinal Cord and Deep Brain Stimulation Surgeries

Pre-surgical psychological evaluations are now considered a routine part of medical care for some procedures, much like other medical tests. Psychological evaluation of patients before surgery is a critical step, not only to identify contraindications for surgery, but also to better understand patient motivation, readiness, behavioral challenges, and emotional factors that may impact their coping and adjustment through surgery and the associated lifestyle changes.

Why Is It Required to Have an Evaluation Prior to Surgery?

Insurance Requirements: Most health insurance companies realize the importance of pre-surgical psychological evaluation and usually require that a pre-surgical evaluation be completed by a licensed psychologist before they will approve surgeries such as Bariatric Weight Loss, Spinal Cord Stimulator and Deep Brain Stimulation surgeries.

Quality of Care: Surgeons want to maximize a patients’ success – to become healthier and improve the patient’s quality of life to the greatest possible extent. Patients need to be physically fit as well as mentally fit before surgery

Psychological Fitness for Surgery: A pre-surgical psychological evaluation will determine if psychological factors impact a patient’s ability to prepare for surgery, comply with post-surgical treatment requirements and adapt to post-surgical lifestyle changes. Factors that can influence a successful surgical outcome are poor coping skills or support systems as well as untreated mental health conditions.

Psychological Factors Affecting Outcomes: Studies have demonstrated that psychological and social factors have an important role in managing chronic pain and medical conditions, preparing for surgery, coping during recovery, adapting to changes during and following rehabilitation, maintaining compliance with treatment recommendations, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

What Does an Evaluation for Surgery Consist of?

Psychological Testing: Patients are given a series of tests to provide a full clinical picture of their fitness for surgery. A unique feature of 2 Peaks Center for Neuropsychology is that patients are given specialized, normative-based, computerized testing specific to their surgery, i.e., weight loss, spinal cord stimulation and deep brain stimulation.

Clinical Interview: Patients will receive a clinical interview. The core parts of the clinical interview include reasons for seeking surgery, current symptoms, weight and diet history, understanding the surgery and its associated lifestyle changes, social supports and history, and psychiatric symptoms (current and past). Often, important support people in patients’ lives are interviewed as well, to gain additional perspectives on patients’ readiness for surgery.

Report of Findings: Typically within one week of the patients’ psychological evaluation, the patient’s physician will receive an in-depth report of the findings that he or she may use along with other data in determining the patients’ fitness for surgery.