When elective surgeries resumed during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, many in-person visits remained virtual. In this study we analyzed weight-loss outcomes for patients undergoing bariatric surgery during in 2020.


This is a retrospective comparison of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomies (LSG) from January to November at a large academic center in two separate calendar years (2020 and 2017). The average age, preoperative BMI, one-year postoperative percent total weight loss (%TWL), and postoperative follow-up was compared between patients who had surgery in 2020 and 2017.


There were 117 LSG cases in 2020, compared to 208 in 2017. There was no difference in the age of patients (years, 42.2 vs. 42), but patients in 2020 had a higher preoperative BMI (2020: 46.9, 2017: 43.5,; p<0.05). The one-year %TWL was lower for patients who underwent surgery in 2020 (2020: 17.9%, 2017: 22.1 %, p<0.05). Compared to outcomes in 2017, the average %TWL in 2020 was significantly lower for patients in 2020 who did not have one-year follow-up of any kind with bariatric surgery (22.1% versus 15.2%, p<0.01). There was no significant difference for those who did have one-year bariatric surgery follow-up (22.1% versus 22.4%, p=0.99). Patient satisfaction did not change.


Compared to 2017, patients who underwent LSG during the COVID-19 pandemic tended to be similar in age but had a higher pre-operative BMI and lost less weight when they had no follow up. Ensuring follow-up within the bariatric surgery practice may improve weight loss in telemedicine patients.