Should You Ever Suggest Gastric Sleeve to a Friend?

It can be tricky to navigate a conversation about weight. Understandably, you may be hesitant to discuss weight loss with an obese friend. This is true even if your desire to have this conversation comes from a place of genuine love and concern.

As a renowned bariatric surgeon, I do advise caution when it comes to recommending bariatric surgery to a friend. However, there may be certain situations when it is appropriate to mention gastric sleeve as a potential solution.

Only If You Are Extremely Close
Weight is a sensitive subject in most cultures. The level of frankness necessary to have a conversation of this type is usually reserved for friends who are extremely close. If you have any doubts about whether you are close enough to discuss weight with a particular friend, the answer is probably “no.”

Sometimes, people believe they are being helpful by addressing weight. However, obese people already know they are obese. Bringing up the subject unprovoked is more likely to make your friend feel uncomfortable than thankful. Unsolicited health advice — even when it does not pertain to weight — is rarely welcomed by anyone.

Wait for Them to Mention Their Weight
Has a friend broached the subject of their weight with you? If so, this is a good indicator that your friendship is close enough to air your concerns. If your friend complains about how difficult they find it to lose weight, that is your opening, although you do not need to jump at the first opportunity. Listen and demonstrate compassion so your friend feels comfortable discussing this same subject again in the future. When that happens, you can ask if he or she has ever considered bariatric surgery.

Never Prod
While gastric sleeve surgery makes it much easier for someone to lose weight, it is not magic. The patient still needs to put in the work and commit to healthy eating habits to achieve and maintain the results. My patients who have the most long-term success are usually those who have reached the decision to have surgery of their own accord. Even if you were able to pressure a friend into having the surgery, it would be far more difficult to get them to commit to the process if they didn’t truly want it for themselves.

Have You Already Had the Surgery Yourself?
If you have had gastric sleeve surgery in the past, that obviously changes the tone of the conversation. Instead of suggesting to someone that they should have bariatric surgery, you have the unique perspective of being able to talk about your positive, firsthand experience with the procedure. As you discuss your personal weight-loss journey, your friend will probably chime in with questions if they are at all interested in seeking gastric sleeve on their own. No need to push it beyond that.

Dr. Alvarez Is Available
At any point, if you learn that a friend or loved one is interested in having gastric sleeve surgery, then it absolutely makes sense to direct them to a top surgeon like me. With over 18,000 successful gastric sleeve surgeries to my credit, I have been named a “Master Bariatric Surgeon®” by the Surgical Review Corporation. You can schedule a consultation at Endobariatric by calling 1 (800) 381-8115.

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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time.”