Sigh. Another day, another “Sweet Jesus, do not fucking do that!” way to lose weight.
Beverly Hills surgeon Nikolas Chugay has a way to make people lose weight that he says is a “miracle.” For $2,000, you can lose 30 pounds in a month. But it’s not really a miracle, it’s a weird little plastic square that he sews to your tongue that makes it too painful for you to eat solid foods.
What the fuck, man?
Chugay is the only doctor in the U.S. who offers this treatment, which has not been approved by the FDA. But according to Time, the procedure is taking off like gangbusters in Venezuela. Chugay says he’s sewn tongue patches to just 60 patients since 2009. But Dr. Ana Maria Parra in Venezuela started offering the procedure two years ago, and she says she sees 900 patients a month.
“Venezuelans are very beauty-conscious,” said Dr. Giovanni Sosa of Caracas, Venezuela, who has been offering the tongue patch for nine months. “So when we offer something that shows concrete results, people will put that before its extreme-nature.”
In Caracas tongue patches cost around $150 instead of $2,000, which Time’s Alasdair Baverstock says could make the area the go-to place for tongue patch tourism.
Tongue patches operate on the same principle as the old “having one’s mouth wired shut” trick, which attempts to get a person to lose a lot of weight by preventing them from eating solid foods. Anyone who’s lived on milk shakes for a week after oral surgery knows it’s possible to gain weight on a liquid diet, so the tongue patch surgery still requires some of the willpower it’s supposed to circumvent. After the abrasive patch is sewn to your tongue, you spend the next 30 days on Dr. Chugay’s liquid diet, which “fulfills nutritional needs” in just 800 calories a day.
Sewing a foreign object to one’s tongue can cause side effects. Some people have trouble speaking because they can’t move their tongues, and many report that they have trouble sleeping from the pain. It’s also a choking hazard and carries a slight risk of nerve damage.
The plastic patch can only be left in place for a month, because any longer and the tongue tissue can grow around it and it can become incorporated into your tongue.
Other Beverly Hills plastic surgeons expressed some skepticism about the procedure.
“Adding a foreign substance to the body comes with the risk of infection or rejection, which means swelling, pain and discomfort,” said Dr. Brian Evans to Time. “A procedure like this would have to pass the rigors of testing before I would consider it.”
After the patch is removed, the patient can eat normally again.