Children's Hospital Colorado

Bariatric Surgeries We Perform

At Children’s Hospital Colorado, we treat the big things, the small things and everything in between.



At Children's Hospital Colorado, we offer two types of bariatric surgery – vertical sleeve gastrectomy and Roux-en-Y bypass surgery. The type of surgery that is best for your teen depends on different factors, such as their health condition. If your child meets the criteria for bariatric surgery, the bariatric surgery team will work with your teen and family to decide which surgery is the best option. Both types of surgery require the same preparation before surgery and care after surgery.

What is vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery?

Vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) is an irreversible procedure to reduce the size of the stomach by removing a portion of it. This causes weight loss by limiting the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. This procedure takes about two hours.

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 What is Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery?

The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is a type of weight loss surgery that involves two steps. First, a small stomach pouch is created. Next, a part of the small intestine is separated and reconnected to the small stomach pouch, bypassing a portion of the small intestine. This decreases the amount that your teen can eat or drink at each meal. This procedure takes about two to four hours. 

What are other treatment options for my teen?

  1. Traditional weight loss methods with diet and exercise
  2. The Weight Management Program at Children’s Colorado
  3. Other commercial weight loss programs

How do I help prepare my teen for bariatric surgery?

Our team will go over in detail what your teen's surgical preparation will look like at their pre-op (before surgery) visit. This includes discussing what medicines need to be stopped before surgery. For example, certain blood pressure medicines need to be stopped three days before surgery.

What can we expect after my teen's bariatric surgery?

Your teen will stay in the hospital for one to three days. They will be on a sugar-free clear liquid diet while in the hospital.

Your teen will recover from surgery within about two weeks. They will need to stay home from school during this time.

How do I care for my teen at home after bariatric surgery?

Mild pain: Your teen may have mild pain and soreness after surgery. It can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medicines. Follow the surgeon’s instructions on which pain medicines your teen can take and how to take them.

Diet: When your teen goes home from the hospital, they will be allowed to have clear liquids and liquids that contain protein. Your provider will tell you what types of liquids they may have for the first few weeks after surgery.

Over time, your teen will be advanced to a regular diet. A dietitian will work with your family before and after surgery to teach you about the diet stages your teen needs to follow. Your teen will also need to take vitamins and supplements for the rest of their life. A dietitian will explain which vitamins and supplements your teen needs to take and why it is important to take them.

Follow-up visits: Your teen will need to attend regular follow-up visits with our bariatric surgery team for the first two years after surgery. Then they will have follow-up visits once every year for the rest of their life.

Why choose Children's Colorado for my teen's bariatric surgery?

  • Children's Colorado bariatric surgery team has been performing bariatric surgeries since 2001 and has helped pioneer the surgical standard for adolescent bariatric surgery.
  • Our multidisciplinary team of experts sets us apart. Our team includes specialists in the areas of pediatric surgery, endocrinology, psychology, nutrition and exercise physiology.
  • The Bariatric Surgery Center team takes a patient-centered approach that includes an individualized evaluation and treatment plan. We also provide ongoing care after surgery to ensure life-long health and nutrition as patients transition to life after surgery.

The Connection Journey: A Journey to Wellness

Bariatric surgery can prompt a lot of concerns and questions. That's why we connected a new bariatric patient with a family who's been through it. Learn from Mona as she discusses with Jessika the decision to have bariatric surgery, as well as recovery and life after surgery.

Watch their journeys