Bariatric Evaluations

Dr. Mabel Lopez has a subspecialty in Health Psychology and was trained at the University of Florida to conduct Bariatric Pre-surgical evaluations. She has been conducting bariatric psychological pre-surgical screenings for over ten (10) years.

Dr. Jeannette Corredor has extensive experience in counseling and psychological states that lead to maladaptive over-eating disorders.  She has had further training in bariatric surgical evaluations at Mind and Brain Care.

Bariatric surgery (ie, laparoscopic gastric banding, gastric bypass) offers patients the opportunity to experience significant weight loss that can be maintained. However, unlike traditional diet and exercise programs, bariatric surgery has inherent risks and requires highly restrictive, long-term behavioral changes afterwards. Therefore, patients who are considering bariatric surgery are well served undergo a thorough psychological assessment, to determine their appropriateness for surgery. The requirement for a psychological evaluation prior to electing bariatric surgery stems from the National Institutes of Health consensus statement (1991) that recommended that patients be “selected carefully after evaluation by a multidisciplinary team with medical, surgical, psychiatric, and nutritional expertise.” Hence, psychological evaluation has become a standard part of the screening of candidates for bariatric surgery.

The psychological assessment involves two parts: (1) a clinical interview and  (2) psychological testing. Patients meet with a psychologist for a clinical interview that focuses on behavior, psychiatric symptoms, and understanding of the surgery; they then complete psychological testing, which provides an objective measure of their presentation style, psychological adjustment, and readiness for surgery.

Some patients are scared or anxious about seeing a psychologist before surgery.  This is normal.  Patients may be put at ease by knowing the information discussed during the clinical interview is critical not only for assessing their appropriateness for surgery but also for enhancing their success during the postsurgery adjustment. In fact, many patients find that the assessment was very valuable for them because it examined issues about their eating behaviors which they had not considered.

During the Psychological Pre-Surgical Evaluation, you will be asked the following:

  • Patient’s  Reasons for Seeking Surgery
  • Patient’s goal weight and anticipated time frame for achieving that goal
  • Patient’s Understanding of Surgery, Including Risks and Benefits and post-surgical commitments
  • Patient’s expectations after surgery
  • Patient’s Weight History
  • Patient’s Diet History
  • Patient’s Eating Behaviors
  • Patient’s Social Support and Psychosocial History
  • Patient’s Mental Health History

After the interview, Psychological Testing will be completed.

Testing consists of objective personality, mood, and cognitive tests,  which are useful for determining the patient’s level of psychological adjustment and any potential challenges for the surgical team in the management of the patient.

REPORT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION.  When all this information has been obtained and scored, it is summarized in a brief report for the surgeon. Contained in this report are summaries of the patient’s background and history, current and past psychiatric issues, testing results, and conclusions and recommendations.

The patient is welcome to come back and sit down with the psychologist evaluating him/her to receive feedback on the report.