Just when I think I’ve heard it all, along comes something new and bizarre. This fad is called the tongue patch diet. The only place you can get this procedure in the United States is in Beverly Hills, California. Dr. Chugay, the innovator of this strange weight loss procedure, is the main surgeon.
A piece of marlex (prolene), a synthetic material used in hernia repair, is sutured to the tongue with six sutures. The marlex is left in place for one month. The rationale for the one month period is the tongue tissue will begin to grow into the marlex pores if the mesh is allowed to stay on the tongue any longer.
During this one month period, the patient survives by drinking 800 calories a day in the form of a liquid diet which supposedly has all the minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that you need to survive. The patient will not eat solid food since eating solid food is too painful. Therefore, the patch works by causing pain every time that the patient attempts to eat solid food. Typical weight loss with this diet is 15 to 30 pounds in one month. The patch can be as small as a postage stamp or large enough to cover most of the tongue.
Dr. Nikolas Chugay charges $2000 for this ten minute procedure. Dr. Chugay defends performing this unusual procedure, which he first started doing in 2009, although other physicians are more critical of the technique. Dr. Chugay argues that his procedure is considerably less invasive than any weight loss surgery including the lap band. He has not had any known complications with this procedure.
There is always the possibility of an infection due to the foreign material, but there have not been any reported cases.
The big question is what happens with the weight after the mesh is removed. As far as I know, Dr. Chugay has not provided any long term data as to the permanence of the weight loss with this procedure. I can only guess that the patient starts eating poorly again, and regains his or her weight and then some. I suppose the patient could have the procedure done again.
The procedure seems to be gaining popularity. At least one clinic in Venezuela has started offering this controversial procedure.
Of course, I would not recommend having this procedure. It makes more sense to eat wisely and exercise than it does to suture a piece of mesh to your tongue. Local anesthetic is used for this procedure, and there is always a danger of an adverse reaction to any medication. Therefore, you don’t want to expose yourself needlessly to medication.
Wishing you continued success with your weight loss and maintenance.