: In an extreme weight-loss measure, a US plastic surgeon has invented a patch which is sewn to the tongue and makes chewing of solid foods so painful that the patient is confined to a liquid diet. The latest invention is being touted as an alternative to more drastic weight loss measures such as gastric bypass surgery or the lap band, and can help people lose as much as 14 kgs in a month.
The abrasive plastic tongue patch costs $2,000. The patch, which requires six stitches to attach it to the tongue, must be removed after a month so that it doesn't "become incorporated into the tongue", Nikolas Chugay, the Los Angeles plastic surgeon who created the patch, said. It also has side effects, including sleep and speech difficulties.
Blythe O'Hara, who researches behavioural change at the University of Sydney, is not a fan of the "miracle patch". "It seems a very extreme way to go about losing weight; and does very little in the way of helping a person make lifestyle changes that can be sustained over the long term," O'Hara said.
"I would be most interested to see if there were any studies that have been undertaken assessing the effectiveness of such surgery, and would prefer people needing help to lose weight spend their money on getting assistance from professionals who can educate and support them in making lifestyle changes both now and in the future," she said.
Chugay said he has not yet seen any "serious complications" as a result of the procedure, which is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. In US, where Chugay launched the procedure in 2009, some 60 people have had it done, while in Venezuela it is becoming something of a fad.