The tongue patch procedure may be the latest fad for those looking for a quick way to slim down: A mesh patch is sewn into the tongue to cause pain and prevent the consumption of solid foods, leading to rapid weight loss. Or at least that is the claim by the procedure's creator, Dr. Nikolas
Chugay at Chugay Cosmetic Surgery Medical Clinic Inc. in Beverly Hills, California.
"We are now approaching 100 patients treated with the procedure. While it is definitely outside the norm and an off label use of the mesh, patients understand ï»¿this is an extreme procedure to help them deal with a serious problem...obesity. The large majority of the patients that we have treated are significantly overweight with BMI's over 35. While the procedure is not for everyone, there are many that have experienced a benefit."
Is the Tongue Patch Safe?
Despite concerns the procedure isn't ethical due to reports that it causes patients pain, Dr. Chugay asserts the patch is safer than other methods used to lose weight, such as bariatric surgery.
How Much Weight Can You Lose with the Tongue Patch?
Dr. Chugay claims on his official
channel that patients who have already opted to try the patch - which he has dubbed the Miracle Patch -- have lost 20 to 30 pounds within the first month of use and up to 55 pounds for those who utilized its services for eight weeks.
How the Tongue Patch Works
The material used in the patch is marlex, an abrasive material usually used to repair hernias. It is sewn to the top of the tongue by six stitches to prevent patients from being able to consume solid foods. Dr. Chugay then places his patients on a strict 800-calorie liquid diet for two-months - which is how long the patch will remain in place. Dr. Chugay also recommends that patients engage in an exercise program and participate in psychological evaluations.
The reversible procedure costs approximately $2000 and is not covered by insurance. As of this writing, the procedure is not FDA-approved.
The Bottom Line
As someone who has had their digestive system rearranged to lose weight, I feel it would be hypocritical of me to call this procedure bizarre. Bizarre as the tongue patch may seem at this point in time, other weight-loss procedures such as gastric bypass may too been thought bizarre when they first appeared on the market.
However, over time the gastric bypass surgery has proven itself to be a highly effective long-term weight-loss solution. Let's not forget that many of its predecessors, like the gastric balloon, were failures. So, for my money (and my safety) I'd need to see FDA approval and clinical outcomes of long-term efficacy (effectiveness) of the tongue patch. For now, I find the procedure a bit hard to swallow.