Ascension Sacred Heart Surgical Weight-Loss Center
- Specialty Care
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Bariatric Surgery FAQs
Choosing to get bariatric surgery is an important decision. You should know what to expect and how to prepare for your weight-loss journey. Before your first consultation with a bariatric surgeon, please review our frequently asked questions. We provide you with answers about the types of bariatric surgery, dietary guidelines, recovery and more.
What types of surgery does Dr. Lord perform?
Dr. Lord performs Laparoscopic gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric bypass revision surgery.
Does Dr. Lord perform the biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) with a duodenal switch?
Due to complications associated with this surgery, Dr. Lord will only discuss this procedure with patients weighing 800lbs or more. He will not perform this procedure on anyone under 800lbs.
Does my insurance plan cover bariatric surgery?
Each health insurance plan has a specific policy about bariatric surgery. Medicare has additional criteria that must be met before surgery is approved for payment. Our health insurance specialists are happy to review your policy with you. Visit our insurance page for more information.
What is the criteria for bariatric 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, 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 require a doctor-supervised weight-loss trial and a copy of one office visit note for each of the last 3 to 5 years listing your weight and how 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 or older than 60 years old. We evaluate everyone on a case-by-case basis.
Is there a weight limit for bariatric surgery?
No. We evaluate each patient on a case-by-case basis to evaluate their need for surgery.
Is Dr. Lord a board-certified surgeon?
Dr. Lord is board-certified in general surgery and completed a fellowship in bariatric and minimally invasive surgery. This is the highest degree of training you can obtain in the field of bariatrics.
How long will I be in the hospital after bariatric surgery?
The average hospital stay for gastric bypass surgery is 2-4 days. Most people only require a 2-day stay.
How soon can I return to work after bariatric surgery?
We advise patients to take 21 days off from work. If you do not have a physically demanding job, you may return in 10 days to 2 weeks after a gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy or revision surgery.
Has Dr. Lord had many complications or have any of his patients died from 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 or diarrhea. Dr. Lord has not had a surgical death with any bariatric surgical procedure.
Can you gain weight back after bariatric surgery?
If you do not follow your doctor, nurses and dietitian’s guidance, you may regain the weight. We occasionally see weight gain two years after gastric bypass surgery in non-compliant patients. If you get off track with your diet and exercise routine, please contact our physician assistant or our bariatric dietitian. We want to help you maintain your weight loss after surgery.
After having bariatric surgery, when can I drive again?
You may drive 24 hours after you stop taking narcotic pain medication.
Will I need plastic surgery after losing weight due to loose skin?
About 40% of female patients and 10% of male patients want some form of plastic surgery due to excessive skin after losing weight. Exercise and losing weight slowly has little impact on the amount of loose skin. Genetics plays the largest role in this area. Your age, how long you have been overweight, and your BMI also play a role. Smokers tend to have less elasticity in their skin and are likely to have more loose skin after surgery. Dr. Lord does not perform plastic surgery, but can recommend local plastic surgeons to you.
What happens to the old, excluded stomach in gastric bypass patients?
After gastric bypass surgery, your old stomach still has its blood supply. It stays in the same place and continues to make gastric juices. Even though it no longer receives food, your old stomach remains active. With sleeve gastrectomy surgery, the excluded stomach is totally removed.
Which bariatric surgery works best for someone with gastroparesis?
Both the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy can help with gastroparesis. However, the gastric bypass is the best procedure to cure gastroparesis.
How do I know which bariatric surgery is right for me?
Dr. Lord will discuss each procedure with you. Based on your health history, he will give you his opinion about which one is best for you. Ultimately, if there is no reason against a particular procedure, the choice is yours.
What health issues could keep me from having gastric bypass surgery?
Crohn’s disease may limit the options for bariatric surgery.
Can weight-loss surgery help my acid reflux?
Yes. Weight-loss surgery can help improve acid reflux.
I take Coumadin for blood clots. Can I still have weight-loss surgery?
Yes. 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 abdominal surgeries you’ve had, Dr. Lord can perform the procedure laparoscopically. On the rare occasion he can’t, you will be informed prior to surgery.
Do I have to do a supervised weight-loss trial for a medically-necessary surgery?
If your insurance company requires a supervised weight-loss trial, you must follow their rules. A letter from your doctor will not help. This surgery, although medically necessary, is considered elective. Our care team can guide you through this process with your insurance company.
If I lose weight during the supervised weight-loss trial, am I no longer a candidate for surgery?
No. It is unlikely that your weight-loss will affect your eligibility. Most people lose weight for a couple of months and then start to regain weight. If you lose enough weight to lower your BMI 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?
No, because you are not going through your insurance company. The supervised weight-loss trial is an insurance carrier requirement, not ours.
When can I have bariatric surgery? How long does the process take?
The road to weight-loss surgery takes time. The length depends on whether or not you are required to do a supervised weight-loss trial. Even if you are a self-pay patient, it will likely take 3-4 months before surgery can be scheduled. Once you complete all requirements, your surgery is scheduled at least 2 months in advance.
Are bariatric support groups mandatory?
Support groups are not mandatory but highly encouraged for ongoing weight-loss support. Check our Facebook page and website for dates and times.
Who do I give my completed insurance paperwork to?
We print the online health information you provide and include it in your chart. Additional paperwork is collected by our care team at your first visit.
What is the next step in my weight-loss journey?
Watch the online seminar, complete your health questionnaire and build your online profile through My Health Manager. You must also obtain a referral to see Dr. Lord from your primary care doctor. Our care team will verify your insurance coverage and call or email you with further information. If you are a self-pay patient, our office will schedule you for a consultation with Dr. Lord.