Pediatric surgical care for children in Denver
The experienced pediatric surgeons across the Rocky Mountain Pediatric Specialists network are widely heralded for providing advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques for infants, children, and teens — mainly because we developed many of them ourselves and continue to be trailblazers in pediatric surgery.
Our surgical specialists focus solely on the surgical treatment of conditions affecting children from conception to college. Every surgery we perform is tailored to your child's age, condition and unique needs.
For more information about our services or to find a surgeon, please schedule an appointment.
Surgical care team for kids
In addition to offering cutting-edge treatments, we believe in caring for the entire family and keeping parents active and involved in their child’s individualized care plan. Everyone involved in your child’s treatment is highly trained to care for the unique needs of children. Our surgeons work with you, your primary care doctor and other relevant pediatric specialists to determine the best surgical option as well as the best plan of care after surgery.
We are dedicated to educating, comforting and guiding the entire family through their child's health journey. We truly treat all patients as if they were our own children.
Leaders in minimally invasive surgery
Many of the procedures performed by our experienced surgeons can be done through minimally invasive surgery. Our specialists have not only pioneered these advanced techniques and designed tools that are used by pediatric surgeons around the world, but have also adapted procedures previously only performed on adults to be safe and effective for children.
Most patients see great benefits from minimally invasive surgery, including less pain, less risk, reduced scars and a quicker return to family, play and school.
Pediatric general surgery in Denver
Some people believe “general surgery” is an umbrella term that applies to all types of surgery, but it’s actually a surgical specialty for all types of procedures that don’t involve the bones, brain or heart. Our skilled pediatric general surgeons have a breadth of experience in this specialty, from common procedures to rare and complex surgeries.
Chest wall and thoracic procedures
We use both nonsurgical and surgical means to treat the chest wall and thoracic cavity affected by conditions such as:
- Esophageal duplications
- Lung disease, including congenital pulmonary airway malformation (CPAM)
- Pectus carinatum and pectus excavatum
Some congenital problems are discovered while the fetus is still in the womb and may require surgical treatment within the first couple days after birth (known as neonatal surgery). Some of these conditions include:
- Esophageal atresia (EA) with tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF)
- Hirschsprung's disease
- Imperforate anus
- Intestinal atresias
The pediatric general surgeons within the Rocky Mountain Pediatric Specialists network have developed minimally invasive techniques and instruments allowing many complicated neonatal procedures to be performed successfully on infants within one or two days of being born.
Gastrointestinal and pelvic-region surgeries
Our pediatric general surgeons provide comprehensive treatment for many types of gastrointestinal problems and issues affecting the pelvic area.
- Choledochal cyst repair
- Gallbladder removal
- Hernia repair
- Inflammatory bowel disease procedures (for bowel resection, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, etc.)
- Intussusception treatment
- Nissen fundoplication and other anti-reflux procedures (used to treat GERD/reflux)
- Ladd's procedure for malrotation
- Meckel's diverticulum surgery
- Ovarian cysts, masses and torsion procedures
- Pancreatic pseudocyst surgery
- Splenectomy and splenic cystectomy
Reflux in children
Reflux, commonly referred to as heartburn or acid indigestion, is a chronic disease that occurs when stomach acid or bile flows back up into the esophagus and irritates the lining of the food pipe.
Symptoms can include burning pain in the chest that usually occurs after eating and gets worse when lying down, bad breath and difficulty swallowing.
Reflux can affect children of all ages
Most babies experience some form of acid reflux – it is one of the common reasons that babies spit up or vomit. Typically, the baby will outgrow this issue around one year of age. Before that time, symptoms often can be managed through medication and lifestyle adjustments.
Older children and teens who have heartburn (up to two hours at a time) that worsens after meals may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a more advanced case of reflux.
Because eating is painful or difficult, GERD can interfere with good nutrition and lead to a failure to thrive. In addition, more severe cases can cause breathing problems and other issues in the esophagus, such as bleeding and a build-up of scar tissue.
Reflux treatment options for children
Many times, reflux can be controlled by changes in diet or other lifestyle changes. However, if diagnostic tests show that the acid reflux is severe, causing inflammation (esophagitis), a narrowing of the esophagus (stricture) and/or Barrett’s esophagus (change of esophageal cells, linked to cancer), corrective surgery may be necessary.
This surgery, called a fundoplication, reinforces the valve at the bottom of the esophagus to prevent stomach acids from entering the esophagus. Fundoplication surgery may be performed safely on infants and children alike.
Our team was the first in the Rocky Mountain region to perform a minimally invasive procedure called Nissen fundoplication for pediatric patients and has the largest series of laparoscopic Nissen fundoplications in infants and children in the world.
Hernias in infants and children
A hernia occurs when areas of tissue bulge through a weak area in the abdomen or a small opening in the abdominal muscle, usually in the groin or belly button areas. Hernias are common occurrences in children and, along with a visible lump, symptoms include belly pain, vomiting, bloated/full belly and fever.
Hernia treatment in children
Some types of hernias resolve on their own, others require surgical intervention. Our surgeons are experienced in treating several types of hernias, including:
- Epigastric hernia — Caused when the area between the belly button and the chest bone does not close properly and is more prevalent in boys than girls; much be treated surgically as it will not go away on its own
- Inguinal hernia — Caused when the sac holding a fetus’ intestines in place does not fully seal itself before birth, leaving a hole that allows tissue (intestinal tissue in boys and an ovary in girls); surgery is necessary to ensure this tissue doesn’t become stuck in the inguinal canal and cause reduced blood supply and damage to the intestines
- Umbilical hernia — Occurs when some of the intestines bulge through the abdominal wall inside the belly button, causing a lump under the belly button that is not painful and often resolves by age four; surgery is only recommended if the hernia does not go away on its own or is causing other problems
Gallbladder surgery for kids and teens
While most people think of adults when they hear about gallbladder removal, gallbladder disease is becoming increasingly more common in children. The most common form of gallbladder disease occurs when hard, pebble-like bile stones block a duct of the gallbladder, keeping bile from flowing from the liver to the intestines. Children who have a family history of gallstones, have Crohn’s disease, sickle cell disease, are obese, have hemolytic disease or other trauma may develop gallbladder disease.
Our team was the first in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region to perform a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) in a child. Our team is always looking for ways to provide the least invasive and most effective procedure to get your child back to an active, healthy life!
Additional pediatric surgical specialties
Our pediatric general surgeons partner with surgeons within our network representing several other types of surgical specialties. This collaboration between our surgical experts ensures your child receives the most comprehensive care possible.
Other types of surgical specialties our pediatric patients have access to include:
Using our surgical expertise on a global scale
We've treated children from all over the global, with families traveling from as far away as Dubai. See what one mother had to say about the services we provided to her child.