The latest piece of weight-loss madness is the tongue patch, a piece of marlex mesh which is actually stitched to the tongue and which makes eating solid food excruciatingly painful if not impossible. Yes, it really is true.
The device was invented by Dr Nikolas Chugay, a California plastic surgeon. The patient is required to consume a liquid diet only for a period of 30-days, thus leading to weight loss. Reports vary and it’s difficult to be sure about the claims, but some patients report losing up to 25lbs in the 30-day period. Patients experience swelling of the tongue and difficulty with speech after the procedure. Others have problems with sleeping and with excess salivation. There is also a real risk of tongue ulceration and infection, which could be serious. Still, there has (apparently) been no shortage of patients ready to undergo the procedure at a cost of around $2000.
Unsurprisingly, there are no studies on the efficacy and safety of the device and it has not been approved by the FDA in America (the regulatory authorities).
Of course there is no shortage of crackpot diet aids, but this does seem to be at the extreme end of the spectrum. It’s a little reminiscent of the old jaw-wiring technique which meant not being able to open the mouth normally for about 6-months. That didn’t work either.
Personally, I rather like being able to talk normally, so this is probably not for me.
Dr David Ashton MD PhD
2nd October 2013