Peace River Psychology Center
Bariatric Pre Surgical Evaluations
by Dan Goldman, Ph.D.
Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) includes a variety of procedures performed on people who are obese. Weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or through removal of a portion of the stomach. As part of our practice, I often perform bariatric pre surgical evaluations for insurance and physician purposes.
Why do I need a psychological evaluation for bariatric surgery?
Most insurance companies and surgeons require that surgery candidates undergo a thorough psychological evaluation in order to ensure that they are good candidates for surgery. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (1991) advocates that patients be ‘‘selected carefully after evaluation by a multidisciplinary team with medical, surgical, psychiatric, and nutritional expertise.” A psychological evaluation is imperative for determining:
1. Your ability to make an informed decision, understand the risks inherent in bariatric surgery, and understand the possible outcomes of surgery.
2. Whether any psychological conditions exist that might prevent you from adhering to the lifestyle changes that will be required once you have had surgery.
3. Ways that you can increase the likelihood of long-term weight loss, well-being, and satisfaction.
Will the evaluator disqualify me from getting the surgery?
We do not determine whether you will ultimately get the surgery; that decision is made by the surgeon. In some cases, psychological issues may make bariatric surgery dangerous or unlikely to be effective. Just because a person is experiencing or has experienced psychological problems, though, does not mean that she or he is unfit for surgery. In fact, research indicates that when a highly qualified psychologist conducts the evaluation, candidates are rarely denied surgery for psychological reasons. The goal is not to disqualify you from surgery; the goal, whenever possible, is to make you a better candidate. As a Certified Bariatric Counselor, Dr. Goldman is uniquely qualified to conduct these evaluations.
What is involved in an evaluation?
The evaluation is typically completed in one session, and consists of 3-4 parts:
1. A take-home information packet is available for download from this website, or can be mailed to you prior to your appointment. Please bring the completed packet with you to your appointment.
2. A structured clinical interview with Dr. Goldman that is specially designed to identify areas that will enhance your ability to successfully make necessary life changes and as well as those that might inhibit your ability to do so.
3. Psychological testing to assist in the detection of psychological disorders, as well as to identify personality characteristics that make lifestyle change more or less difficult.
4. In some cases, an aditional feedback session, in which the results of the evaluation and treatment recommendations are discussed, is required. There may be an additional fee for feedback sessions.
Will the evaluation be covered by my health insurance?
Because most insurance companies require a psychological evaluation for bariatric surgery, insurance companies will often pay – in part or in full – for the evaluation. We will be glad to inquire about your insurance benefits, however you are ultimately responsible for knowing whether services will be covered. If your insurance does not cover the evaluation, or if we are not contracted with your insurance company, please speak with our staff about a discounted out of pocket rate.