MILTON — Dr. Ricardo Kevin Mohammed is a board certified surgeon that specializes in general and bariatric surgery at Santa Rosa Medical Center.

He offers the surgery as a last resort for patients who suffer from the chronic disease of obesity, but stresses surgery is a tool, not a crutch.

“It’s all about a lifestyle change for the better. There’s a choice for the patient,” Mohammed said. “They have to be honest with us and themselves and not feel pressured by anyone else. The patient has to say ’I need to change my life.’”

The Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program accredited the Bariatric Surgery Center at the hospital in May 2019.

The accreditation means the center has a specialty-trained medical staff in bariatric care, specialized equipment and facilities to treat obese patients and proven surgical outcomes, approximately a 70 percent success rate (within one year), according to Mohammed.

Getting the surgery scheduled and completed can take anywhere from three months to a year in most cases, Mahammed said. There are seminars, consultations with doctors, psychologist and support groups, discussions on all your habits and motivations for the surgery.

“It’s best to consult with medical professional as much as possible,” Mohammed advised.

The Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy is the latest version of the procedure. Through small incisions the surgeon removes the left side of the stomach leaving it about one-tenth of its original size. The procedure is proven to reduce the appetite hormone Grehlin. Less appetite combined with a smaller stomach makes it even easier to eat less food and lose weight.

Mohammed is specially trained on the robotic-assisted surgical platform, which he prefers to use if it is right for the patient. The minimally invasive surgery causes less pain and scarring, lowers the risk of infection, shortens hospital stays and allows for quicker recovery.

Gastric bypass surgery has been the most common type of weight loss procedure and has many variations. The surgery consists of cutting or stapling the stomach to create a small pouch and bypassing part of the small intestine that absorbs nutrients and calories.

The surgery can lead to vitamin deficiencies in patients because of malabsorption.

The long-term average weight loss for the surgeries is 80 to 150 pounds. After care and follow-up after surgery is for year. The SRMC, if allowed by the patient, will follow them the rest of their lives to gather data on long-term results.

A simplified explanation to qualify for the surgery is to have a Body Mass Index of 40 or greater. Alternatively, a BMI of 35 to 39 with two co-morbidity conditions like diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea or high cholesterol can qualify.

“If there is no benefit to the patient there is no surgery,” Mohammed said.

Health insurance is also a qualifying factor. Some patients prefer self-pay and it is an option at SRMC.

Patients can link to an online seminar at for details on the entire process. To find your BMI go to If you want more information the bariatric center at SRMC, go to

Mohammed said he has a unique approach in the doctor patient relationship.

“Every one of my patients are family from day one,” he said. “The most important thing in medicine is the relationship.”