Pre-Surgical Psychological Evaluations

Pelvic X-Ray
Therapy Session

Why Are Psychological Evaluations Requested or Required Before Certain Surgeries?

Medical procedures such as spinal cord stimulator implantations or bariatric surgeries may require that patients receive psychological clearance before surgery for any combination of the following reasons:

  • 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.

  • There is considerable evidence that psychosocial variables can positively and negatively affect the outcome of invasive procedures (Burchiel et al., 1996; Giordano & Lofland, 2005; Heckler et al., 2007; Gatchel, 2001; Gatchel & Mayer, 2008). Thus, a thorough assessment of these factors is a critical part of the screening process for appropriateness for surgery. If particular risk factors are present, various non-surgical treatment and/or modification of lifestyle factors may be required prior to gaining clearance to proceed with surgery.

  • It is important that individuals undergoing surgery have a clear understanding of the procedure and potential risks and benefits, and have realistic expectations for the outcome.


What Should I Expect During A Pre-Surgical Psychological Evaluation?


The psychological evaluation typically lasts between 2-4 hours and consists of a clinical interview, psychological testing, and cognitive screening. Dr. Fine also reviews medical records and writes a report, which would be sent to the referring physician. The report includes any mental health diagnoses, risk and protective factors for the patient, and recommendations for treatment and/or lifestyle modification, which may improve the outcome of the surgical procedure.