If you fancy a bit of self-torture that causes you in extreme pain each time you eat solid food – counterbalanced with the prospect of losing 30lbs in a month, you are probably already booking your flight!
So What Is Tongue Patch Surgery?
Tongue Patch Surgery was invented by LA cosmetic surgeon Nikolas Chugay in 2009 as a way to help people lose vast amounts of weight in a short period of time. In a bizarre way, the idea is genius in its simplicity and involves a simple clinical procedure that can be carried out at lunchtime.
A postage sized plastic patch is stitched onto the tongue in a procedure that takes only 10 minutes and can be carried out under local anaesthetic. Within an hour, you can be back at work or carrying on your normal life.
The plastic patch is made from an abrasive material called Marlex – often used in other surgical procedures such as hernia operations and the result of attaching this abrasive patch to your tongue is that you cannot eat solid foods. If you try, it causes extreme pain so is a real deterrent! You wear the patch for a month during which time you are restricted to a liquid diet that contains just 800 calories a day.
Expect to lose vast amounts of weight. Losses of 23lbs, 25lbs or even 30lbs are normal depending upon the individual. Once the month is over, the tongue patch is surgically removed – there are six stitches – and you are free to enjoy your healthy new shape and life style.
There is nothing miraculous or magic about this tongue patch. You do the hard work yourself by living on 800 calories a day for a full month. The patch just prevents you from breaking this extreme diet.
Who is Dr Chugay?
Dr Chugay is a Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon with a practice that carries out all the usual tummy tucks and face lifts you would expect. This tongue patch procedure has bought him to world notice and he has appeared on national prime time TV including the Dr Phil Show.
The tongue patch procedure is inexpensive, especially when compared to Dr Chugay’s costs for other cosmetic surgery procedures. It costs just $2000, which is a snip!
There is also a practice in Venezuela which is operated by the Chugay family. Here, the tongue patch procedure costs just $150.
Dr Chugay states that his tongue patch surgery is the “answer to obesity” and that during the month of wearing the patch, his patients are supported and monitored. He says that his aim is to retrain his patients eating habits and lifestyles and to promote the idea of exercise over the month’s near fasting diet.
Recently the Tongue Patch was featured in the UK newspaper the Daily Mail and followed the experiences of two young women as they underwent the procedure. Both women were pleased with their weight loss results. One lost 23lbs in 30 days and the other lost 18lbs.
Both women had mentioned that they found it impossible to resist food cravings and that this was the only way that stopped them from giving into temptation to binge eat.
The article did not catch up with the pair later so it is unknown whether or not they maintained their weight loss long term.
Source: Daily Mail Article
Dr Chugay provides a liquid diet to sustain you over the month. We tried to find out more details but this crucial information is not available. It is not clear if Dr Chugay simply provides you with a recipe book and instructions or is looking to market his own food products to go with his diet.
Some patients have tried to cheat on this diet and most people try eating some solid foods while the patch is in place. They only try it once because everyone has reported the same experience. Agony! Eating solids with the tongue patch is so painful it is just impossible.
How Long Can You Wear The Patch?
You can only keep the patch in place for a month. According to medical information, if you leave it in place any longer any longer and there is a chance that it will fuse to your tongue. You will need to return to surgery to have the tongue patch surgically removed.
When you consider what is actually happening here regarding weight loss, you could of course just go on a diet over a month without the pain and distress of the tongue patch.
The tongue patch will not make you lose weight. The liquid diet of 800 calories is the thing that will make you lose weight here not the patch itself.
Dangers of The Tongue Patch
It seems that everyone has focused on the yuk factor of the patch and there are some gruesome videos of the surgical procedure.
What has been largely ignored is the fact that fact that eating only 800 calories per day is going to be extremely difficult. This diet will not be suitable for everyone. According to medical advice, a very low calorie diet (VLCV) is only ever suitable for people with a BMI over 30 and the NHS urges caution in reducing your calorie intake to such an extreme low.
VLC diets can cause health risks including heart problems, gallstones and other issues associated with not getting enough nutrition.
Common side effects include:
- Light headedness
- Inability to concentrate
It is extremely important to ensure that your VLC diet is safe and is followed properly. It would be beneficial if we knew more about Dr Chugay’s liquid diet because in effect, this is the business end of the whole weight loss.
There are associated dangers with the tongue patch too. The tongue patch is painful, can affect your ability to speak and it will make you drool a lot.
One patient reported,
At the start you can’t even move your tongue for the pain
You have a strong chance of getting an ulcer or infection and the patch could dislodge and become a choking risk. The FDA has not approved this treatment and are not likely to do so.
Dr Richard Chaffoo another Beverly Hills surgeon speaking in an interview with the Christian Post, labelled the procedure as dangerous owing to the risk of infection.
The tongue patch needs to be removed after a month because any longer and there is a real danger that it will become embedded in the tongue.
The Pros and Cons of Tongue Patch Surgery
This new surgical procedure for weight loss might seem ridiculous and it has attracted a lot of criticism but is it any worse than other forms of extreme weight loss treatment?
It is probably safer and is certainly cheaper than a gastric band or bypass for example and it does not seem so very different from the idea of wiring your jaw to prevent you from eating. A practice that has largely gone out of fashion but still available.
The problem with the idea of the tongue patch is that it just seems so mad to have to mutilate your body in order to restrict your appetite.
As one critic put it writing on the MyFitnessPal forum;
I can offer a similar service… for half the price. Hire me, as your personal eating consultant and I will punch you in the mouth every time you go to eat a meal. NOT FDA approved… yet
Worryingly tongue patch surgery has become extremely popular in South America – in particular Venezuela where it only costs $150 and has become a real craze.
Dr Chugay has a surgery in Caracas and it seems likely that Venezuela may also become a destination for medical tourists looking for a cut-price way to get this treatment.
Venezuela spends a fortune on plastic surgery and female beauty is highly prized. It is not uncommon for Venezuelan girls to get breast implants for a 15th birthday present so it is not surprising that the tongue patch has really taken off in this country.
Will Tongue Patch Surgery Lead to Permanent Weight Loss?
This surgical procedure is extremely unlikely to lead to permanent weight loss.
All the medical advice is to lose weight slowly by making changes to your diet and lifestyle and the problem with quick fix solutions like this is that once the diet is over the usual pattern is for the weight to pile back on.
It is a fad diet like any other and the only difference between this and the others such as OMG six weeks to weight loss and similar is that your willpower will not be the weak link in the weight loss programme.
Even Dr Chugay says that the average amount of time before the patients put the weight all back on is just 8 months.
It is not a lasting solution. Fad diets like this do not have a good track record in leading to permanent weight loss.
The Causes Of Compulsive Eating?
It would be more effective to look at your lifestyle and identify your weight problem at its root rather than look at a quick fix solution, which is bound to fail long term.
If you suffer from addictive eating or compulsive behaviour, then addressing your mental health issues are probably the best way to deal with your obesity.
Compulsive eating disorders are a real mental health problem and you can get help from your doctor and from numerous organisations that are trained in supporting this common condition.
Take a look at our earlier article on food addiction to find out more.
We can see the tongue patch taking off around the world because it does seem like a quick fix way to achieve drastic weight loss within a month. It does appear to be relatively safe and it is cheap in comparison with other extreme solutions.
We don’t believe that it will work long term and it seems highly likely that once the tongue patch is removed and you can eat solids again you are going to overeat.
After all, the tongue patch will cause you a fairly awful month of pain, hunger and misery and reaching for food is a perfectly normal human reaction to stress and hunger.
The only viable way to lose weight is to permanent changes to diet and exercise in order to keep your weight off forever. Everybody knows this but still obesity is reaching epidemic proportions.
There will always be people who look for the quick fix solution and tongue patch weight loss surgery may work in the short term. However, it won’t help you solve your weight problem permanently and it will not do your long-term health or bank balance any good either.