Doctor Claims Tongue Patch Can Help Shed Pounds

A Long Beach doctor said he's created a weight-loss procedure where a patch of mesh is sewn into the tongue.

Dr. Nicholas Chugay told Medstar Television -- a news subscription service that NBC LA subscribes to -- that there are only a few physicians who offer this procedure. He charges $1,500, plus $200 a month for a supply of liquid nutrition formula.

First, the tongue is injected with a local anesthetic, then the mesh is sewn into the top front of the tongue.

The patch makes "chewing of solid foods very difficult and painful, limiting the patient to a liquid diet," according to the doctor's website.

As of yet, there are no comparative or long-term studies on the procedure, but Chugay claims his patients may lose up to 25 pounds with the patch, which can be removed and then replaced at a later date.

"Your tongue does feel like if you want to chew, it'll get stuck, so you won't be able to eat it," said Erica Renteria.

Renteria, who had the patch in for three weeks, said it helped her shed pounds. She had it removed but plans to have another patch sewn into her tongue in the near future

If you are among the roughly one-third of adults in the U.S. who are obese, you should always see an expert before losing weight. Most experts suggest you try diet and exercise first. If they fail, you may be prescribed medicines.

Surgical procedures of any type are recommended only as a last resort. While the tongue patch may be less invasive than the lap band or gastric bypass, it is a surgical procedure.

If you decide to get any procedure, make sure to see an expert who has experience with that procedure. Ask about risks and dangers, speak to former patients and don't ever hesitate to get a second, even a third opinion

For general information about weight loss or the health risks associated with obesity, visit the American Heart Association, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

NBC LA does not endorse individual physicians, but if you'd like more information about Chugay and the procedure, visit his website here

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