University of Miami Hospital Center of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery is the only university-based bariatric center in the region. As part of the University of Miami Health System, this Center of Excellence provides leading-edge patient care by the nation’s most acclaimed physicians and offers the latest options for the morbidly obese. University of Miami Hospital Center of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery offers three types of bariatric procedures, gastric banding, gastric sleeve and gastric bypass. Both procedures are performed laparoscopically. University of Miami Hospital carries the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) designation as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence.



The ASMBS Center of Excellence designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes in bariatric surgery.  For a center to receive the Center of Excellence designation the hospital or institution must perform at least 125 bariatric surgeries per year collectively and the surgeon must have performed at least 125 bariatric surgeries him or herself and perform at least 50 per year. The Center must also report long-term patient outcomes and have an on-site inspection to verify all data. In addition, the Center must have a dedicated multi-disciplinary bariatric team that includes surgeons, nurses, medical consultants, nutritionists, psychologists and exercise physiologists.

  • Dedicated to bariatric surgery, not doing it part time.
  • Performing more bariatric surgery than any surgeon in South Florida.
  • 10 year experience of over 2500 bariatric surgeries.
  • Our staff speaks and teaches nationally and internationally about bariatric surgery
  • One of 35 proctors used by Ethicon EndoSurgery nationwide to teach other surgeons about the safe and efficacious use of the Realize band.

Our Team


Nestor de la Cruz-Munoz, M.D., FACS

  • Medical Director for Bariatric Surgery at University of Miami Hospital
  • Associate Professor of DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, UM Miller School of Medicine
  • Chief of Laparoendoscopic and Bariatric Surgery
  • Co-Director, Center of Excellence for Laparoendoscopic and Minimally Invasive Surgery

Raymond Cooper, M.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology

Steve Friedman, PH. D

  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Clinical Director, Behavioral Health Services, University of Miami Hospital

Noel Emmanuelli, RD, LD/N

  • Dietician
  • Nutritionist

Melissa Cuesta, LPN, CST

  • Bariatric Program Coordinator