Pre-Surgical Psychological Screening (P-SPE)
Why would a highly trained surgeon with superior skills and expertise in diagnosis consider the professional opinion of a neuropsychologist or health psychologist? The surgeon may have had a long successful surgical history, but also experienced unexpected failures such as patients who did not improve as predicted, whose emotional states deteriorated, those who became addicted to medications, and those who developed significant complications.
P-SPE can help the surgeon to improve overall surgical results and to avoid problem patients; those patients whose lack of response creates protracted frustration and places extensive demands on the surgeon.
Furthermore, when the surgeon intuitively senses that a patient may not result in a positive outcome, P-SPE can provide objective findings of such a feeling, or even contradict it, with the recommendation that surgery proceed without undue influence from psychosocial variables.
Moreover, the current movement to integrated multidisciplinary care in medicine has included neuropsychologists and health psychologists thereby minimizing morbidity and mortality. Finally, by including the P-SPE in the patient workup it demonstrates the surgeon was cautious in his/her decision making process, was not operating unaware of psychosocial issues that could influence the surgical outcome and avoid medical malpractice litigation.
P-SPE can be applied to the following surgical procedures: dorsal column stimulators and intrathecal pumps, spine surgery, deep brain stimulation, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, breast cancer surgery, gynecological surgery, and temporomandibular/oral surgery.
Surgery patients’ emotional and psychosocial concerns, health related behaviors, outcome expectations, and compliance with the treatment regimen can all strongly influence the ultimate effectiveness of surgery. Utilizing the PPE, neuropsychologists and health psychologists add to the assurance that patients are provided the treatments most likely to be effective, while reducing the chances of exacerbating their conditions.