Minimally Invasive Surgery Team

Leaders in the Field of Minimally Invasive Surgery

The surgeons at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Denver, are pioneers in the field of minimally invasive surgery.

When faced with the prospect of your child's surgery, you want the best possible team caring for your child with expertise and compassion. The doctors of Rocky Mountain Pediatric Surgery are leaders in minimally invasive techniques, boasting the largest series in the world of nissen fundoplications (infants and children), thoracoscopic lung resections (infants and children) and neonatal minimally invasive surgery. Our team is the first in the world to perform many minimally invasive surgeries (see more in sidebar).

Dr. Steven Rothenberg, Pediatric Surgeon
Minimally Invasive Surgery Center Medical Director

Steve Rothenberg MD

Dr. Rothenberg is the Chief of Pediatric Surgery at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Luke's in Denver, Colorado and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University in New York, New York. He is a world leader in the field of endoscopic surgery in infants and children, and has pioneered many of the procedures using minimally invasive techniques.

Dr. Rothenberg completed medical school and general surgery residency at the University of Colorado in Denver. He then spent a year in England doing a fellowship in general thoracic surgery, prior to returning to the states where he completed a two year pediatric surgery fellowship at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. He returned to Colorado in 1992, where he has been in private practice for some 20 years.

Dr. Rothenberg was one of the founding members of the International Pediatric Endosurgical Group (IPEG) and is its recent past president. He is also the chair of the pediatric committee and on the board of directors for SAGES (The Society of American Gastro-intestinal Endoscopic Surgeons). He has authored more than 100 publications on minimally invasive surgery in children and has given over 200 lectures on the subject nationally and internationally. He is also an editor for Pediatric Endosurgery & Innovative Techniques.

Dr. Saundra Kay, Pediatric Surgeon

Saundra Kay, M.D.Dr. Kay was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. She completed medical school at McGill University and spent one year in its Pediatric residency program before transferring into general surgery. She pursued her fellowship training in Pediatric Surgery at McGill University's Montreal Children's Hospital before coming to Denver to spend six months doing a laparoscopic and thoracoscopic fellowship at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center under the supervision of Dr. Rothenberg. Before joining the practice in September 2004, Dr. Kay and her husband Jeff Sankoff traveled the world for six months, an invaluable experience. She is now happily settled in Denver with her husband and three children; big sister Samantha and twins Adam and Lauren.

Dr. Kristen Shipman, Pediatric Surgeon

Kristin Shipman, M.D.Dr. Shipman was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She completed medical school at University of Missouri-Kansas City and then moved to Dallas, Texas in order to pursue general surgery training at Baylor University Medical Center. She completed a fellowship in surgical critical care at Parkland Memorial Hospital and her fellowship in pediatric surgery at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.

Dr. Shipman recently moved to Denver for the opportunity to work with Rocky Mountain Pediatric Surgery and participate in the growth of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. Her childhood love of the Rockies brings her to Denver. She enjoys waterskiing, traveling, snow skiing, and scuba diving.

Dr. Sarah Lai, Pediatric Surgeon

 Sarah W. Lai, MD, MSc was born and raised in Edmonton, Canada. She completed her medical school and general surgery training at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She then moved to Calgary, Canada where she completed a master’s degree in gastrointestinal sciences concurrently with a residency in the clinician investigator program at the University of Calgary, studying the effects of gut hormones and nutrition on intestinal adaptation in short bowel syndrome. She subsequently went on to complete a pediatric surgery fellowship at the University of Calgary Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Lai has won multiple research grants and awards, including the Calgary Surgical Research and Development Fund Grant, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute Community Support Grant, the William H. Davies Medical Research Scholarship, the Henry Koopman Award, the University of Calgary Surgeons’ Day Award, the Gastrointestinal Sciences MDGI Award, and the European Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Outstanding Paper Award. Her research interests include outcomes of minimally invasive surgery in children, diagnostic accuracy meta-analyses, intestinal adaptation in short bowel syndrome, and other pediatric surgery topics. Dr. Lai has also won several awards for academic excellence, teaching and in laparoscopic surgery competitions. Outside of the operating room, Dr. Lai enjoys traveling, scuba diving, skiing, cycling and hiking.


Minimally Invasive Surgery