A common first step to undergoing bariatric surgery (also known as gastric lap-band surgery) is to have a pre-surgical psychological clearance. Some of the reasons your doctor or insurance company may have requested the evaluation are (1) to assess if you will be able to make the post-surgery lifestyle changes required to ensure the success of the surgery, (2) to assess that you are psychologically and emotionally prepared to undergo bariatric surgery and, (3) if it necessary, to recommend additional supports either before or after the surgery. The ultimate goal of the bariatric psychological evaluation is to ensure your safety by identifying potential barriers and risk factors to your optimal weight loss and health post-surgery.
Many individuals have questions regarding the bariatric psychological evaluation. One of the most common questions is, “If I have a current mental health concern or history of mental illness, does that preclude me from bariatric surgery?” The answer is…not always. Having a mental health concern, such as depression, anxiety, alcoholism, or a past history of mental illness does not necessarily preclude surgery. In fact, according to a recent study, only about 5%-10% of people evaluated have their surgery postponed. What is more important is how you are coping with these challenges presently and how you are likely to cope with these issues with regards to your post-operative lifestyle changes. In other words…the evaluation is to ensure your health and well-being.
At PsychCare, the bariatric psychological evaluation typically involves a semi-structured clinical interview, the completion of several standardized psychological assessments, and occasionally a review of records. The evaluation usually takes place over 3-4 hours, with approximately half the time devoted to completing the assessments and the other half participating in the clinical interview.
The written report of the psychological evaluation are usually available within 7 to 10 business days from the date of assessment. Appointments are often available within 14 business days. If you are interested in a pre-surgical psychological clearance evaluation for bariatric surgery, please click the “Make An Appointment” on the top right part of the screen or call 410-343-9756.