services

Evaluations & Counseling for Bariatric Surgery

Reseach has consistently shown that with ordinary means (diet and exercise) the most weight a person can lose and SUSTAIN the loss is between ten and fifteen percent of their body weight. When a person becomes morbidly obese (100 pounds or more overweight) the condition cannot be treated by ordianry means and extrordinary means become necessary. Gastric Bypass and Lap Banding are very effective treatments for morbid obesity. They are tools that, when combined with an appropriate diet and exersice, can lead to dramatic sustainable weight loss.
We provide comprehensive evaluations (a prerequisite for surgery) as well as ongoing counseling to help ensure successful and healthy weight loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHY DO I NEED A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION FOR WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY?

There are actually two reasons for the evaluation. The first is that it is a requirement based on guidelines established by the National Institute of Health for all patients before bariatric surgery can be offered. The second reason is that surgeons as well as the insurance companies also require it to ensure your health and safety. Weight Loss Surgery is a life altering procedure. As with any major surgery, weight loss surgery can have complications including death, and in the case of the gastric bypass procedure, it is irreversible. For these reasons, the decision to go forward with surgery should not be taken lightly.

An evaluation ensures that you are:
1. able to make such a decision
2. understand the consequences of your decision
3. have no underlying psychological conditions that would prohibit you from adhering to the life changes that are required following surgery.

WHAT PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS WOULD CAUSE PROBLEMS WITH WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY?

There are a wide variety of psychological disorders that may indicate that weight loss surgery is not in a patient's best interest. In general, we are looking for problems that would prevent a person from following diet restrictions. This includes conditions such as impulse control problems. In addition, conditions related to distortions in body image may cause problems. Such distortions may result in life threatening conditions such as anorexia or other eating disorders.

WILL NORMAL EPISODES OF ANEXITEY OR DEPRESSION PREVENT ME FROM HAVING SURGERY?

Most people at some time in their lives have experienced psychological problems. These episodes are typically treated with medication and/or psychotherapy. Normal anxiety and depression would not disqualify you for weight loss surgery.

WHAT DOES A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION ENTAIL?

An evaluation includes a clinical interview in which a detailed history is taken. Following the interview, a psychological test is administered. The test provides an objective measure to help screen for a wide variety of psychological disorders.

HOW LONG DOES THE EVALUATION TAKE?

The clinical interview takes 30 to 45 minutes, and the test typically takes 45 minutes.

WHO SHOULD DO THE EVALUATION?

To have weight loss surgery is an important decision, and it is to your benefit that the evaluation be done properly. That is why you should see a psychologist, who has extensive experience with evaluations related to weight reduction surgery.

WILL MY INSURANCE PAY FOR MY EVALUATION?

Each insurance company is different, however, the cost of the evaluation may be fully or partially covered by your health insurance. There are a few things to keep in mind. First, the evaluation is not related to a mental disorder, and as such the claim should be submitted to your medical benefits, not your mental health benefits. Second, you should check with your insurance carrier prior to being evaluated if you are concerned with coverage.

HOW WILL I KNOW IF I PASSED THE EVALUATION?

The evaluation is not about passing or failing. The process identifies potential problems that might cause you difficulty if you have the surgery. If there is a concern it will generally be discussed at the time of the evaluation. Following the evaluation a report is provided to the surgeon, who then makes a decision as to whether he or she will proceed with the surgery. The psychologist does not qualify or disqualify you for surgery.

WHAT IF I AM TAKING MEDICATION FOR A MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL PROBLEM?

You will be asked about current medications that you are taking. For the most part you will continue taking the medication after surgery. Many psychiatric medications cannot be abruptly stopped. However, if the medication is time released and you are seeking a gastric bypass a substitute medication will need to be prescribed by your treating physician. Your physician will instruct you about making changes or substituting medications.

WHAT IF I AM CURRENTLY BEING TREATED BY ANOTHER PROVIDER?

If you are currently being treated you still need to be evaluated by an independent psychologist who is trained in conducting these evaluations. It would help, however, if your current provider would write a brief letter supporting your decision to have weight reduction surgery.

CAN I RECEIVE A COPY OF MY EVALUATION REPORT?

The report is typically faxed and the original mailed to your surgeon. After your surgeon receives the report you may request a copy of the report from your surgeon. We typically do not provide reports directly to clients.


Bariatric Surgery Support Group

In conjunction with Monmouth Medical Center's Community Health Education we offer a support group to individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery or to those who are anticipating/planning bariatric surgery. The group is facilitated by a multidisciplinary team composed of:

  • David M. Goldberg, Ph.D. - Clinical Psychologist
  • Samara Habiby, M.P.H., R.D. - Registered Dietician
  • Deborah LaRusso, R.N. - Bariatric Surgery Program Coordinator

There is no charge for the support group, but we do ask you to pre-register by calling 1-888-SBHS-123 (1-888-724-7123).

The group meets the fourth Thursday of each month from 7:00 to 9:00 in Monmouth Medical Center, Stanley Wing room 214.

2009 Meeting Dates:

  • January 22
  • February 26
  • March 26
  • April 23
  • May 28
  • June 25
  • July 23
  • August 27
  • September 24
  • October 22
  • November 19 (3rd Thursday)
  • December 17 (3rd Thursday)
photo
design
contact
  • Address
    34 Sycamore Avenue
    Little Silver, NJ
    07739 USA
  • Telephone
    (732) 576-8925
  • Fax
    (732) 576-8814