Bariatric Surgery: The First Step to Lasting Weight Loss


If you’ve been considering bariatric surgery after struggling with different diets for years, the most important thing to feed yourself is information. The Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program makes it easy with free information sessions several times a month at all three of its hospitals as well as satellite locations.

“For some people, the information sessions may be their first exposure to the idea of surgery. Others have researched it for years,” says Vincente E. Benchino II, MBA, RD, LDN, Bariatric Program Coordinator. “We provide the information they need to help them make a decision.”

The sessions, which run approximately 90 minutes long, provide a comprehensive overview of the various surgeries offered, the equipment used, and pre- and post-operative care. Prospective patients also have a chance to meet the medical team, including surgeons, nurse practitioners, dieticians, and medical assistants, and ask any questions they might have. Some of the most common: “Will I ever be able to eat regular food again?” and, “How long does it take to get through the process?”

“This isn’t a hard sales pitch,” says Benchino. “We’re open about the pros and cons, and the lifestyle changes they can expect to make. We really hope surgery is on their minds because they’ve exhausted all their other options.”

Attendees are encouraged to bring along a guest, such as a spouse, sibling, adult child, or friend, for support and to ask questions. In general, attendance at a typical session is around 25 to 30 people at the hospital locations, and between 8 to 15 people at satellite sites. (Patients are free to schedule their surgery at a different location than the one where they attend the information session.)

“Sometimes people go through it once or twice before they commit,” says Benchino. “We send them home with a folder of information so they can mull it over and give us a call when the time becomes right.”

Patients can even make an appointment for a one-on-one consultation with a surgeon at the session. The most important thing, Benchino says, is to “just come ready to listen.”

To learn more about bariatric surgery sign up for a free weight-loss surgery information session with the Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program.