Pre-surgical Psychological Assessment For Bariatric Surgery Candidates

The decision to undergo bariatric surgery requires dedication and a serious commitment to lifelong lifestyle changes. As such, all surgeons require potential candidates to complete a psychological evaluation in order to determine eligibility for the procedure. Your surgeon is most interested in your level of understanding regarding the risks and complications of bariatric surgery, and your desire to follow the basic recovery plan to see if bariatric surgery is right for you.

Areas Covered In Psychological Assessments for Bariatric Surgery Candidates

While each surgeon’s specific criteria for the psychological evaluation may vary, you can expect the assessment to cover many of the following areas:

  • Behavioral Components
  • Previous attempts at weight management
  • Eating and dietary styles
  • Physical activity and inactivity
  • Substance abuse
  • Health related risk-taking behavior
  • Legal History
  • Cognitive and Emotional Functioning
  • Cognitive Functioning
  • Knowledge of obesity and surgical interventions
  • Coping skills, emotional modulation, and boundaries
  • Psychopathology
  • Developmental History
  • Any childhood history of weight-related ridicule and its related impact.
  • The role that food may have played, along with any attempts to use it as a source of love, comfort, companionship, control or dissociation, during childhood.
  • The degree and quality of attachments in social relationships outside the home.
  • Parental availability and stability as well as the quality of the bond with the identified patient.
  • Current Life Situation
    • Stressors
    • Utilization of Social Support
  • Motivation and Expectations
  • Expectations regarding psychosocial, emotional and lifestyle challenges and adjustments post surgery
  • Unrealistic expectations and how these could affect recovery and weight management both short- and long-term.

What You Can Expect

The testing will include a 1-hour initial intake session with a licensed clinical psychologist to gather relevant background information and history. You will then be scheduled to come back for a two- to three-hour session where you will complete various self-report inventories and/or personality tests that are specific to bariatric surgery. The psychologist will consult with your surgeon and/or primary care physician if necessary in order to ensure a thorough evaluation tailored to your needs. Once the report is completed, our office will contact you and set up a follow-up appointment. This session will provide you with an opportunity to see your results and ask any questions you may have. You will also be given a copy of the report for your own records, and if you wish to have it faxed directly to your surgeon, we will be more than happy to assist you with that as well. Most importantly, we always make sure to provide you with a comfortable and caring environment, which is empathic to the sensitive nature of your journey.