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Preparing and Recovering from Bariatric Surgery


patient talking to doctors

Samantha Warner-Grimsley, RN, CBN, member of the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery team, explains how the team at Penn Medicine helps patients prepare and recover from weight loss surgery.

Preparing people for weight-loss surgery and the lifestyle adjustments that are necessary after surgery are crucial components for long-term weight loss. That is why the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery team helps prepare you for your weight-loss surgery and then assists in your recovery so you can quickly get on track for achieving your weight-loss goals.

How to prepare

All patients scheduled for bariatric surgery at Penn Medicine attend a nutrition class approximately two weeks before surgery. The purpose of the class is to prepare you for the post-surgical dietary changes that are necessary for successful weight loss.

During the class, a nurse reviews important information about your surgery and post-operative care. Knowing what to expect during and after surgery can help reduce anxiety and promote well-being during the recovery phase. The nurse also addresses any concerns or problems that you may have.

To bridge the transition from hospital to home, the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery team offers homecare or visiting nursing services for people who have had gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery. These services provide you with the expertise of a professional health care provider within the comfort of your own home, acting as a liaison between you and the bariatric surgery team.

Symptoms to look out for

Even with homecare services after bariatric surgery, health care professionals only come to your home for prescheduled visits. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of symptoms that can signal post-surgical complications and know when you need to contact your surgeon.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your bariatric surgeon’s office immediately: 

  • Fever greater than 101 degrees
  • Severe pain
  • Persistent nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Wound redness or drainage
  • No bowel movement within three to four days after surgery
  • Inability to consume adequate liquids
  • Inability to tolerate your medication

When you make the decision to have bariatric surgery, you’re making a life-long commitment to a healthier you. A vital part of that commitment includes follow-up care. Regular visits with your bariatric surgery team, including the surgeon, nurse practitioner and dietician, can help you achieve and maintain long-term weight-loss success.

- Samantha Warner-Grimsley, RN, CBN

About this Blog

Learn about bariatric surgery and get the support you need to continue on your weight-loss journey. We offer workouts, recipes and tips from Bariatric Surgery program team members, and stories from patients like you.

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