What is Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric Surgery, commonly referred to as weight loss surgery, is a procedure that supports patients in losing weight. While there are various kinds of bariatric procedures available, many are aimed at helping to treat obesity, increase an individual’s quality of life, and reduce the risk of weight-related problems.
Bariatric treatments ordinarily alter the stomach and intestines, resulting in less food intake while changing how the body absorbs nutrients from food. The modification leads to an overall decrease in hunger and a subsequent drop in the individual’s weight.
What are the Requirements for Bariatric Surgery?
Requirements to undergo bariatric surgery can differ between geographical location and individual clinic; however, common criteria for surgery are:
- BMI at or above 40; or more than 100 pounds overweight
- BMI at or above 35 with at least one comorbidity such as hypertension, respiratory disorders, heart disease, sleep apnea, etc.
- Inability to lose and keep weight off or attain a healthy weight for a sustained amount of time through the use of traditional weight loss methods such as diet and exercise
- Must undergo a pre-bariatric psychological assessment
What is a Pre-Bariatric Psychological Assessment?
A psychological assessment is a crucial and required step before bariatric surgery. Throughout the assessment, the clinician (typically a clinical psychologist) will gather as much information on the patient as possible including:
- Behavioral Challenges
- Current Lifestyle
- Mental Health History
- Family History
- Emotional Factors
Gathering this information helps the clinician make a professional judgment on whether or not the individual is suitable for bariatric surgery while giving the individual a greater insight into factors that can help them succeed throughout surgery and the weight loss process.
Why is this Important?
The psychologist that administers the pre-bariatric surgery assessment aims to gather as much information about the patient as possible to judge if they are a good fit for surgery. However, that isn’t the only benefit that pre-bariatric surgery psychological assessments have.
Psychologists also educate and motivate patients throughout the assessment process. Understanding strengths and potential barriers encourage surgery candidates to pursue and stick with an improved healthy lifestyle long after the surgery itself.
While post-bariatric counseling isn’t a requirement for surgery, some patients do benefit from it. Psychological support from a professional can help individuals maintain lifestyle changes that may help increase chances of long-term success.