Presurgical Psychological Screening

A presurgical psychological screening (PPS) is a tool used by physicians to develop the most effective treatment plan for you.

What is Presurgical Psychological Screening (PPS)?

Chronic pain is a terrible experience outside the realm of what most people expect to encounter in their lifetimes. Some people have described it as similar to going through a war but going through it alone. In addition to severe discomfort and physical limitations, people with chronic pain often experience a wide range of secondary difficulties including:

  • Financial Problems
  • Occupational Problems
  • Marital Problems
  • Sexual Problems
  • Parenting Problems
  • Insurance Problems
  • Legal Problems
  • Emotional Reactions

In fact, it has been found that up to 80% of people with chronic pain develop a serious depressive disorder in reaction to their pain and the impact of the pain on their lives!

Research has shown that the amount of secondary problems that have developed in reaction to a person's pain problem can affect the outcome of invasive procedures such as spinal surgery and implantation of pain relieving devices. Because your doctor knows that these factors can affect what he does for you medically, he is requesting that you have a PPS.

Why me?

Your doctor has recommended PPS because he is aware that what the patient brings to the surgical experience can influence the success of the procedure. You are not being singled out. PPS is recommended for every patient under consideration for specific invasive procedures. In fact, PPS is so important that certain insurance programs (ex: Medicare) will not pay for some pain relieving procedures without a PPS! Most importantly, the PPS will help your doctor develop the most effective treatment plan for you.

What will happen during the PPS?

During the PPS, a clinician will ask you questions about your pain problem and how it has affected your life. The clinician will also ask you to complete some questionnaires about your pain, mood, and personality. It is the job of the clinician to make you feel comfortable and at ease. You will not be asked to answer any questions that make you uncomfortable.

What will happen after the PPS?

After the PPS, the clinician will offer to go over the findings and any recommendations with you. Most often, the clinician will clear you for surgery. Sometimes, the clinician will make recommendations such as clarifying expectations about the procedure, learning coping skills, or treating a mood disorder prior to the surgery.