A California cosmetic surgeon is taking a revolutionary and controversial approach towards weight loss. Dr. Nikolas Chugay offers a procedure that involves sewing a patch onto a patient’s tongue, making eating solid foods too painful.
Chugay became the first doctor to offer the procedure in the US after he saw it performed four years ago in Latin America, where the practice is widespread.
Once Chugay installs the hard mesh patch in a $2,000 ten-minute procedure, the patient is supposed to limit him or herself to an 800 calorie per day liquid diet for a month and work out for 45 minutes every day. After the patch comes off, the patient is supposed to abide by a strict, plant-based diet from then on.
Chugay insists that the patch poses no health risks, and claims that the month of abstinence from solid food is the time required to rewire the patient’s cravings. However, weight loss expert and Biggest Loser star Dr. Rob Huizenga – who called the practice “barbaric” – contests the latter claim.
“If I could say one thing, it’s that the whole concept that you jump-start [healthy habits] is absurd,” Huizenga told ABC News. “There’s not one scintilla of hope or evidence that putting a patch on your tongue and not being able to eat for a month is going to have any effect on you at one year, or two years or three years.”