Presurgical Psychological Evaluations

Why Do I Need a Psychological Evaluation Before My Surgery?

Some medical procedures such as spinal cord stimulator implantations or bariatric surgeries may require that the patient go through a psychological clearance evaluation before the surgery. There are several reasons why this may be requested:

  1. Your insurance company may require that you go through a psychological evaluation as they will be spending a lot of money on the surgery and want to make sure that you will benefit from it.
  2. In the case of many pain-reducing procedures (such as SCS or back surgeries), a surgery may not be as effective if there are psychological factors influencing your experience or perception of pain. If this is the case, treatment of a psychological condition may be required prior to gaining clearance to proceed with a surgery.
  3. A psychological evaluation helps to evaluate your understanding of the procedure and determine whether your expectations of what will be achieved by undergoing the procedure is realistic.
  4. Lifestyle factors are also assessed during the psychological evaluation. In the case of bariatric evaluations (for example), it is important to ensure that you have committed to healthy diet habits that would ultimately lead to long-term success. 

What’s Involved With the Pre-Surgical Psychological Evaluation?

The psychological evaluation may take between 2-4 hours and consists of a clinical interview with the psychologist, and completion of psychological questionnaires and personality tests. A cognitive screener may be given. The psychologist would also review medical records and would write a report, which would be sent to the referring physician. The report would include any recommended treatment that would help to improve the outcome of the surgical procedure.