Are You Ready for Bariatric Surgery?

Gulf Coast Healthy Living Magazine Volume 3, Issue 1 - Weight-Loss

Bariatric surgery, or weight-loss surgery, is a life-changing procedure that can be tremendously beneficial for the right candidate. However, this elective surgery with such a potentially high impact on an individual’s life must be carefully considered. The patient must be prepared to follow through with the lifestyle changes and post-operative care required to make such a surgery a success. That’s why psychological testing is often requested by the patient’s physician and may be required by the insurance provider.

When a patient is referred to Dr. Robatzen, she plans to spend two hours assessing the patient for any personality traits, disorders or anything else that might impede or obstruct a successful outcome of the surgery. She will talk to patients about their lifestyle: what they do for a living, general habits, routines and hobbies. She also likes to meet with the patient’s support system since strong, reliable support often results in a quicker, easier recovery time.

After the initial interview,the patient takes a formal psychological assessment,normally lasting about 30 minutes. This assessment will help the psychologist note areas of concern that could make it difficult for the patient to adjust after the surgery or maintain the lifestyle changes required for optimal results. “An ideal candidate is somebody with the ability to have healthy relationships because that really feeds the support system,” says Dr. Robatzen. “For example, someone fairly free of any moderate to severe depression or anxiety, who has the ability to follow directions and treatment recommendations, and who is not afraid to ask questions of their doctors.”

For patients who have never been to a psychologist before, the idea may be daunting, but Dr. Robatzen wants patients to understand they shouldn’t fear the exam, which is not just a box to be checked by the insurance company. “This is an important piece that ensures the patient will have the best possible outcome with the shortest possible recovery time,” shares Dr. Robatzen. “The patient should look at this assessment as a sign that their doctor cares enough to see the whole ‘me’, not just the physical part of ‘me’ that’s going to have this surgical intervention.”

Dr. Robatzen provides psychological testing for bariatric patients at The Summit Group. To find out more, contact Dr. Robatzen at 850.437.8952.

Picture of Chery Robatzen.

Cheryl Robatzen, Psy.D, provides psychological assessments for bariatric patients at The Summit Group in Pensacola. “In my opinion, it’s an important piece,” says Dr. Robatzen. “We look at the patient holistically. The primary purpose is to enhance the chances of a successful outcome.”