Section of Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery has been performed at University of Colorado Hospital since the early 1980’s. This specialty has evolved considerably to become the multidisciplinary program it is today. Our team includes three surgeons, nurse practitioner, three dieticians, nurse coordinator, patient navigator and scheduler, psychologist, physical therapist, personal trainer, and plastic surgeons.

Our patient volumes continue to grow and to meet these needs. We take pride in our clinical excellence and outcomes, which are reflected in our reaccreditation as a MBSAQIP Comprehensive Bariatric Care Center. Our last accreditation was in 2015, and we were cited as an exemplary practice in multiple areas. The next site visit is later this year, and we look forward to sharing our program and evidence-based best practices. One example is reducing our readmission rates with a program run by our nurse practitioner and nurse coordinator. Another example is reducing our urinary tract infections by avoiding catheters in a majority of patients.

We continually examine our outcomes data, compare them to national benchmarks, and engage in quality-improvement projects. We offer Roux-en Y Gastric Bypass, Sleeve Gastrectomy, and Lap Band operations for weight loss, with a slight majority being Sleeve Gastrectomy. We offer revisions of prior surgery, and a growing number of patients are tertiary-care referrals for either weight loss failures or complications of treatment. We have a robust interdisciplinary weight loss program and collaborate with our Medical and Gastroenterology colleagues to offer pharmaceutical and endoscopic options, including the intra-gastric balloon and aspiration tube.

Strong collaboration continues with the Children’s Hospital Colorado (CHCO) weight-management program. Research focuses on clinical data review and both clinical and basic science collaboration with Anesthesiology, Hepatology and Endocrinology. We are obtaining tissue samples to evaluate liver, subcutaneous adipose, visceral adipose, and intramuscular fat content in morbid obesity.

In terms of access to care, we hold the founding President position to the Colorado State Chapter of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons and successfully lobbied the State Department of Insurance to change the Affordable Care Act benchmark plan to include bariatric surgery. To date, Colorado has been the only state plan to change to coverage. We have been invited to update and reform the Medicaid bariatric coverage, which is scheduled to take place this fall. Our goal remains to provide better patient access, with patient safety and satisfaction as our highest priority.

Jonathan Schoen, MD, FACS
Program Director, Bariatric Surgery
Associate Professor, GI, Trauma, & Endocrine Surgery
Department of Surgery, University of Colorado