The rules for losing weight couldn’t be simpler: eat fewer calories, be more active. But we seem to be a nation unwilling or unable to understand or achieve that equation, resulting in obesity rates of nearly 36 percent and a crazy array of diet books, fads, theories and procedures.
For many, weight loss simply remains elusive, leading people to seek out easy fixes and alternative strategies. When all else fails, some turn to liposuction, lap-band surgery, wired jaws and the latest in extreme diet procedures, tongue patch surgery.
Developed by plastic surgeon, Dr. Nikolas Chugay, the procedure involves having a postage-stamp sized piece of abrasive plastic sewn onto the tongue. Yes, a needle pierces through tongue flesh to attach the patch, which then makes it too painful to eat.
The patch is left in place for up to a month, during which time patients rely on a liquid diet of 800 calories daily; patched patients can lose up to 30 pounds in a month.
Although the mere thought of the surgery is drawing criticism, Chugay writes, "I see no harm in a minimally invasive procedure to help that overweight/obese patient.”
Yet the fad, which Chugay calls the “miracle patch,” goes beyond helpful “minimally invasive procedure” according to some experts.
Dr. Richard Chaffoo, a California plastic surgeon with certifications from the American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Board of Otolaryngology, and American Board of Facial and Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, says the the tongue patch procedure is dangerous, flawed and unethical.
"Basically, this is a sham, an unethical procedure," he told Yahoo! Shine in an interview.
"With any kind of thing you put in there and suture into the tongue, you run the risk of getting an infection," Chaffoo explained. "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 is 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."
Although Chugay has only performed about 60 of the procedures, the surgery has become all the rage in Venezuela. One clinic there has seen nearly 900 potential patients per month since they started offering the service.
One Venezuelan woman, Yomaira Zamora, said that the patch is as awful as it sounds.
"At the start you can’t even move your tongue for the pain. I’ve tried to eat solid food but it’s impossible," she told Time. "It’s a huge inconvenience, but I’m doing it to feel better about myself. I was very fat," she added.
But at the end of the day, or the month as the case may be, is it worth it? Aside from the risks involved, patients can still drink milkshakes! And with all quick weight-loss schemes, the chance of bouncing back to your original weight is likely if healthy eating habits aren’t established.
Robert Rey, who also runs a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgery practice, sums it up best, “No matter how creative we get with these insane mechanical barriers, nothing replaces discipline.”
Needless to say, the surgery has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Chugay explains the procedure in the video below.
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- What is the best long-term diet plan?