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Pediatric bariatric surgeon Dr. J. Ruben Rodriguez, right, performs the 100th adolescent bariatric surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, qualifying the hospital as the first nationally accredited Adolescent-Only Bariatric Surgery Center in Texas, and the 7th in the United States.

100th Bariatric Surgery

Texas Children’s Hospital To Become First Accredited Adolescent-Only Bariatric Surgery Center in Texas, 7th in the Nation

With its 100th adolescent bariatric surgery this month, Texas Children’s qualifies for national accreditation

HOUSTON (Feb. 16, 2022) — Drs. J. Ruben Rodriguez and Shawn J. Stafford, pediatric bariatric surgeons at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, recently helped promote a lifetime of healthy weight and improved wellness for 18-year-old patient Luis Sifuentes — and put the hospital’s Bariatric Surgery Program on the national map in the process.

With Sifuentes’ procedure — the 100th adolescent bariatric surgery performed at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands since the program’s inception in May 2018 — Texas Children’s is eligible to become the first Adolescent-Only Bariatric Surgery Center in Texas, and the 7th in the United States. The hospital currently is pursuing accreditation with the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). A bariatric surgical center achieves MBSAQIP accreditation following a rigorous review process during which it proves that it can maintain certain physical resources, human resources, and standards of practice.

While Texas is home to approximately 88 Accredited Bariatric Surgery Centers, these programs treat both adults and adolescents, and do not cater to an adolescent-only patient population. Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands is the only Bariatric Surgery Center in the state with a clinical staff who is certified to meet the surgical, medical, and psychological needs of adolescent bariatric patients.

“The breadth and quality of the medical subspecialties and staff at Texas Children’s Hospital has positioned us to be able to change the lives of these teens with surgery in a sustained and impactful way,” said Dr. Rodriguez, Attending Surgeon with the Pediatric Surgery Service at Texas Children’s Hospital, Medical Director of Trauma at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, and Assistant Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, who — along with Dr. Stafford — performed the hospital’s 100th adolescent bariatric surgery. “Watching the program grow and develop and seeing the positive effects on our patients first hand has been especially rewarding.”

To qualify for accreditation as an Adolescent-Only Bariatric Surgery Center, a program must perform at least 100 adolescent bariatric surgeries, and then perform at least 15 gastric-stapling procedures annually to maintain accreditation.

Texas Children’s holistic, multi-disciplinary Bariatric Surgery Program helps to ensure the physical and psychological wellbeing of its pediatric patients, months before and years after their actual surgeries. The hospital utilizes a partnership approach, including the expertise of certified pediatric nurses, psychologists, dietitians, and social workers who are trained to best care for adolescents throughout their journey to long-lasting weight loss.

For a minimum of six months prior to surgery, patients work with a team of clinicians to determine the best option for their sustained weight loss. These patients undergo a series of lab tests, sleep studies, X-rays and ultrasounds prior to surgery, in addition to attending regular appointments with medical specialists to assess their food logs and evaluate their daily eating habits. Armed with this essential information, patients and their surgeons then evaluate the most appropriate surgical and post-surgical interventions for each adolescent.

“This surgery has changed my life and I am excited for this new, healthy chapter,” said Sifuentes, who will turn 19 in April. “Thanks to the entire Bariatric Surgery team at Texas Children’s, I now have a different outlook on life and I am especially motivated to pursue my future goals.”

A recent high school graduate and resident of Beaumont, Texas, Sifuentes has a passion for the cosmetics industry and is an aspiring makeup artist. The surgery has given Sifuentes the confidence and motivation needed to begin working toward his goal of one day owning his own cosmetics brand and enjoying activities once limited by his health.

“It’s amazing to see the transformation in these kids, both physical and psychological, as they go through the program,” said Dr. Stafford, Associate Chief Surgical Officer at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, and Assistant Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. “Our approach to bariatric surgery in this population is much different than that taken when treating adults. Our program is centered around addressing the complex needs of adolescents, dealing with the pressures and issues that are specific to that age group. At this age, the damage to their organs related to obesity is not yet irreversible. We actually have a chance to give them a fresh start and a future free of chronic illness associated with obesity.”

For more information about the Bariatric Surgery Program at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, please visit To schedule an appointment with the Bariatric Surgery team at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, please contact the program at 936-267-7333.

Meet the Team

Our Bariatric Surgery team is here to help you and your teen manage his or her journey to health.

Bariatric Surgery Program

The goal of the Bariatric Surgery Program at Texas Children’s Hospital is to promote lifelong health and wellness in adolescents through effective, lasting weight loss.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Tower for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, the first hospital devoted to children’s care for communities north of Houston. The organization also created Texas Children’s Health Plan, the nation’s first HMO for children; Texas Children’s Pediatrics, the largest pediatric primary care network in the country; Texas Children’s Urgent Care clinics that specialize in after-hours care tailored specifically for children; and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at