Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center

What types of surgery does Dr. Lord perform?

Dr. Lord performs Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass, Laparoscopic Adjustable Banding, Sleeve Gastrectomy, and Gastric Bypass Revision Surgery.

Does Dr. Lord perform the Biliopancreatic Diversion (BPD) with Duodenal Switch?

Due to the complications associated with this surgery, Dr. Lord will discuss this with a patient weighing 800 lbs or greater. He will not perform this procedure on anyone under 800 lbs.

Does my insurance plan cover these surgeries?

Each health insurance plan has a specific policy about Bariatric surgery. Medicare has additional criteria that must be met before Bariatric Surgery will be approved for payment. Our health insurance specialists would be happy to review the specifics of your policy.

What are the criteria for surgery?

To be a candidate for any type of weight-loss surgery (except a revision), your Body Mass Index, or BMI, must be 35 or greater. If your BMI is less than 40, and you have a major, weight-related health issue, such as diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, or high cholesterol, etc., you may qualify for surgery. If your BMI is more than 40, you do not have to have a major, weight-related health issue to qualify. Most insurance plans also require a physician-supervised weight loss trial and a copy of one office visit note for each of the last 3 to 5 years listing your weigh, demonstrating that your obesity has been a long-term health issue.

Is there an age limit for bariatric surgery?

Yes. We do not operate on anyone younger than 18 years old, and after age 60, we evaluate everyone on a case-by-case basis.

Is there an weight limit for bariatric surgery?

No. We evaluate each patient on a case-by-case basis to evaluate appropriateness for surgery.

Is Dr. Lord board-certified?

Not only is Dr. Lord board-certified in General Surgery, but he has completed a fellowship in bariatric and minimally invasive surgery, which is the highest degree of training that can be obtained in the field of bariatrics.

How many surgeries has Dr. Lord performed?

As of 2017, Dr. Lord has performed more than 3,245 gastric bypass surgeries, 259 gastric sleeve surgeries, 309 Lap-Band surgeries and 425 revision surgeries.

How long will I be in the hospital?

The average length of stay for a gastric bypass is 2-4 days, although most people only require a 2-day stay. Lap Band surgery is considered to be an outpatient procedure. However, patients stay in the hospital overnight in an outpatient status.

How soon could I return to work?

We advise patients to take 21 days off from work. However, if you do not have a physically demanding job, you may be able to return in 10 days to 2 weeks after a gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or revision surgery. You may return to work approximately one week after having lap band surgery.

Has Dr. Lord had many complications, or have any of his patients died from having surgery?

Dr. Lord has less than a 2% short-term complication rate and no long-term complications. His patients do not have trouble with long-term nausea/vomiting/diarrhea. Dr. Lord has had no surgical deaths with any bariatric surgical procedure.

Can you gain weight back after this surgery?

Not if you follow the guidance and education given by Dr. Lord, the nurses, and the dietitian. However, we occasionally see weight regain two years after gastric bypass surgery if the patient is non-compliant. If you do get off track with your eating/exercise routine, please contact our office for an appointment with our Physician Assistant and/or our bariatric dietitian. We want to help you to achieve long-term weight loss after surgery.

If I have the surgery, when can I drive again?

You may drive 24 hours after you stop taking narcotic pain medication.

Do most people need plastic surgery after losing weight, or does losing weight slowly have any effect on the amount of loose skin?

About 40% of female patients and 10% of male patients will want some form of plastic surgery due to excessive skin after losing weight. Exercise and losing weight slowly has very little impact on the amount of loose skin. Genetics seems to play the largest role in this area. Also, your age, how long you have been overweight, and your BMI play a role. Smokers tend to have less elasticity in their skin and will have a greater amount of loose skin after surgery. Dr. Lord does not perform plastic surgery, but we will be happy to give you the names of several local plastic surgeons.

What happens to the old, excluded stomach in gastric bypass patients?

After gastric bypass surgery, your old stomach still has all of its blood supply. It stays in the same place and continues to make gastric juices which are used during the overall digestion process. Although your old stomach no longer receives food, it still remains active. With the sleeve gastrectomy surgery, the excluded stomach is removed.

I have gastroparesis. Which procedure would be best for me?

The gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy will help with gastroparesis. However, the gastric bypass is the best procedure to cure gastroparesis.

After I lose weight with the Lap-Band, is the band taken out?

No, the band is not taken out. If it was, you would regain all of your weight. The band is made of non-toxic silicone and has a tremendously long lifespan. Barring unforeseen complications, it should never need to be removed or replaced.

How will I know which procedure is right for me?

Dr. Lord will discuss each procedure with you. Based on your health history, Dr. Lord will give you his opinion about which procedure is best for you. Ultimately, as long as there is no absolute reason against a particular procedure, the choice is yours.

Are there issues that would keep me from having a lap band?

If you have a large hiatal hernia (4 cms or greater), have had a previous stomach wrapping surgery for reflux, or have a pre-cancerous condition known as Barrett's Esophagus, you would not be a candidate for lap-band surgery. Dr. Lord or one of his associates performs an upper endoscopy prior to surgery to rule out the possibility of a large hiatal hernia.

Are there health issues that would keep me from having gastric bypass surgery?

If you have Crohn's disease, you are a lap-band candidate only.

Will weight-loss surgery help my acid reflux?

Weight loss surgery will definitely improve reflux, as well as many other health issues.

I take Coumadin for a previous history of blood clots. Can I still have weight-loss surgery?

Yes, you may have surgery. Dr. Lord will stop your Coumadin or any other blood thinners several days prior to surgery.

I've had lots of abdominal surgery. Can bariatric surgery still be done laparoscopically?

Yes. No matter how many previous abdominal surgeries you have had, Dr. Lord will still be able to perform the procedure laparoscopically. There may be the rare occasion where this is not true, but you will be informed of this prior to surgery.

If my doctor has said this is medically necessary, do I still have to do the supervised weight-loss trial?

If your insurance company mandates a supervised weight loss trial, we must abide by their rules. A letter from your doctor will not help. This surgery, although medically necessary, is considered elective. Our office staff members are highly experienced in guiding you through this process with your insurance company.

If I lose weight during the supervised weight loss trial, will that mean I am no longer a candidate for surgery?

It would be unlikely to lose so much weight during your supervised weight loss trial that you would no longer be eligible for surgery. Most people will lose weight for a couple of months and then begin to regain weight. If you are the exception and lose enough weight so that your BMI falls below 35, then you would no longer be eligible for surgery.

If I am a self-pay patient, do I still need to do a supervised weight loss trial?

Since you are not going through your insurance company, it will not be required. The supervised weight-loss trial is an insurance carrier requirement, not ours. We are aware you have tried many other routes to lose weight prior to deciding on surgery as an option.

How long does the process take, and when can I have surgery?

The road to weight loss surgery takes time. How long the process is for you will depend on whether you are mandated to go through a supervised weight loss trial. Even if you are a self-pay patient, it will more than likely be 3-4 months before surgery can be scheduled. Once you have completed all the requirements, including having your insurance authorization if necessary, your surgery would be scheduled at least two months in advance.

Are support groups mandatory?

Support groups are not mandatory, just highly encouraged for on-going weight loss support. Support groups are held at 6 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month in the Greenhut Auditorium at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. Alternative dates may be posted due to availability of the auditorium. Please monitor our Facebook page and our Web site for updates regarding support group dates and times.

To whom do I give the insurance paperwork after I have completed it?

We have printed the online health information you provided on Remedy EHR and will included it in your chart. Additional paperwork that you fill out will be collected by our front desk staff at your first visit and will be included in your chart.

What is the next step?

Please click on the "Let's Get started" tab at the top navigation bar of our Web site for an overview of the road to bariatric surgery.

After you have watched the online seminar, completed our health questionnaire and built your online profile through My Health Manager and obtained a referral to see Dr. Lord from your primary care physician, our office staff will verify your insurance coverage and call or email you with further information. If you do have insurance coverage, or are a self-pay patient, and you still wish to proceed, our office will schedule you for a consultation with Dr. Lord.

If your insurance policy requires a supervised weight loss trial, please begin as soon as possible. We recommend that you see Dr. David Martin, medical director of Sacred Heart Medical Group's Weight Management & Nutrition program, for your weight-loss trial. After the trial period is complete, he will provide the documentation that your insurance carrier needs in order to approve your bariatric surgery. To learn more about Dr. Martin or to schedule an appointment, please call 850-416-4960 or visit his online profile.