The tongue patch diet, a new weight-loss technique that involves having a rough patch of plastic sewn onto the tongue that makes eating extremely painful, is being hailed as a "miracle" by its supporters and "dangerous" by its critics.
Developed by California plastic surgeon Dr. Nikolas Chugay in 2009, the tongue patch diet makes eating so painful that the patient is forced to drink only liquids, sparking rapid weight loss.
"I have developed a liquid beverage plan to help the patient to stay on a caloric restriction program and, literally, patients can lose anywhere between 20 and 30 pounds in one month," Chugay says in a YouTube video publicizing the procedure, which is only available in the United States at his Los Angeles office and at some clinics abroad.
The patch has a maximum wear period of one month, after which patients are encouraged to consult with a nutritionist to establish a healthy diet going forward.
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"I don’t have the willpower to go on a diet,
so this was the only way," Yomaira Jaspe, a Venezuelan woman who is currently on the tongue patch diet, told Time. "At the start you can’t even move your tongue for the pain. I've tried to eat solid food but it’s impossible. It’s a huge inconvenience, but I’m doing it to feel better about myself. I was very fat."
Dr. Richard Chaffoo, a plastic surgeon in La Jolla, Calif., called the procedure "dangerous."
"With any kind of thing you put in there and suture into the tongue, you run the risk of getting an infection,"
Chaffoo told Yahoo Shine. "You're going to be drooling a lot, it's going to be really painful. Anything that's in there that shouldn't be there's going to rub the surface raw. You could get an ulcer, an infection. It could dislodge and go down your throat and cause an airway obstruction."
The procedure costs $2,000 at Chugay's Los Angeles practice.
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