A postage stamp-sized plastic square sewn onto the tongue helps losing weight fast.
Two women have tried out the “miracle” patch – Marlene Beltran, 20, and Lysander Lanuza, 27, – who both admitted to being unable to control their food cravings, put the tongue patch to the test in an ABC News segment.
Despite the pain and discomfort that came with it, the women were pleased with the results, with Lysander Lanuza losing an incredible 23 lbs and Marlene dropping 18 lbs in just 30 days.
Launched in 2009 by Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Nikolas Chugay, the patch is secured to the tongue with six stitches in a $2,000 procedure that takes just ten minutes.
The sutures make consuming solid food so painful that users are forced to resort to a restrictive 800 calorie liquid-only diet developed by Dr. Nikolas Chugay.
Lysander Lanuza, who weighed 200 lbs before the surgery and whose motivation is a trip to Hawaii in a month’s time, giggles after her surgery is finished, and mumbles: “I can’t feel my tongue.”
The numbness continues until the anesthetic wears off, at which point she finds it very painful to consume anything other than liquid.
Indeed, Lysander Lanuza learns the hard way that the patch is effective when she caves in at a movie theater and indulges in a single piece of popcorn.
“It hurt,” she says.
“I’m like, Christ it does work, I can’t eat!”
Marlene Beltran, who started out at 169 lbs, manages to resist her cravings for fast food, but she experiences grouchiness whenever her family sits down to dinner and she is forced to stay in a different room.
These are just some of the side effects of the controversial procedure, which is yet to be FDA-approved.
According to a study submitted by Dr. Nikolas Chugay’s son and partner Paul, their patients lose an average of 18 lbs in 30 days, and they keep the weight off for eight months.
But the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery has yet to publish the research, because it was found to have “insufficient data”.
Indeed, while Dr. Nikolas Chugay insists he has never met with any skepticism, weight loss expert Dr. Robert Huizenga told the news website he is unconvinced of the patch’s effectiveness, especially over time.
“This is so primitive an approach,” the physician, who has appeared on the Biggest Loser, says.
“You could hire somebody to hold a gun next to your head and threaten to shoot you every time you eat.
“The idea that you put this patch in and every time you take one morsel of solid food, you get this stabbing pain, who the heck know what the long-term consequences of that are.”
He also adds that many studies suggest that those who lose weight rapidly tend to gain it all back, and more.
Nevertheless, throughout the 30 days, both Marlene Beltran and Lysander Lanuza instantly and happily notice a difference as the pounds begin to drop.
“I’m getting a lot more attention from guys, which is nice,” Marlene Beltran says on day 22.
“It’s attention I’m not really used to.”
After 30 days are up, the women have their patches removed and they step on the scales to see the results.
Lysander Lanuza has dropped 23 lbs, just in time for her Hawaii vacation, and Marlene Beltran has lost an incredible 18 lbs, and is finally able to squeeze into her skinny jeans for the first time in four years.
“I’m excited now to see how things turn out,” Marlene Beltran says as she grins at her reflection in the mirror.