Diets are one of those great mysteries of human nature. We all know how to lose weight: eat less and move more. And yet, instead of doing that we commend ourselves to the fast track: miracle diets and miracle pills. Now, a new technique to lose weight is carrying the saying “to look must suffer” to its most painful end.
A California plastic surgeon, Nikolas Chugay, invented in 2009 what might well qualify as the most bizarre and dangerous weight loss method. For about 2,000 euros, the surgeon staples or sews in the upper part of the tongue the so-called ‘slimming meshes’ or, as he calls them on his website, ‘miracle patches’. It does not take ten minutes.
A nightmare for your mouth
The patch makes eating a solid become a nightmare for your mouth. When a food is chewed, it moves and pulls the muscle causing unbearable pain. The patient leaves him there for about a month – it seems to be less, because few endure it – and subsists thanks to a protein shake of 800 calories provided – or not – by Chugay himself. Those who manage to tolerate the experience lose on average about nine kilos in the month.
The surgeon is the only one who does it in the US, but, according to Time magazine, has exported the operation to Latin American countries, where it is becoming even more popular. Chugay said on her website that she had done this procedure more than 150 times, but Ana María Parra, from Venezuela, says she treated 900 people in two years.
Even with its distinct disadvantages, it is a less invasive procedure than other surgeries such as gastric bypass or stomach stapling
“I do not have the willpower to do a diet, so this is the only way I have to lose weight,” says Yomaira Jaspe with the patch in his mouth. “At first you can not even move your tongue through the pain. I’ve tried eating solid foods, but it’s impossible, “he says. “It’s a good solution, I do not see it as extreme,” her mother adds. “It teaches you to eat differently and shows that there are alternatives.”
Without medical guarantees
Indeed, patients lose weight, but, as he confesses to ‘The New York Post’ Paul Chugay, who is also part of the family business, the method is far from infallible and has not been endorsed by the US Food and Drug Administration United States (FDA). “From time to time patients relapse and eat a Mac Bic or fries using the sides of the mouth,” is warranted.
The Chugay usually expose the case of its administrative: it fell from 90 to 68 kilos in a month thanks to the ‘miracle patches’
One in ten patients will be released at some point during the month or even have difficulty speaking, the Chugays confessed in an article in the American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery. Even with these clear disadvantages, it is still a less invasive procedure and prone to developing complications than other surgeries such as gastric bypass or stomach stapling.
Erica Renteria stars in one of those stories that the Chugay family likes to tell in their interviews. They speak of it as proof that their method, although unorthodox, works: from 90 to 68 kilos in just one month. “It boosted my self-esteem and pushed me to achieve my goals,” she says.
When the ‘Post’ asked for more star cases, the Chugay just named the Erica case, either to maintain their confidentiality or other reasons. However, Erica is not that we say an objective source, because it works for them as administrative. “The treatment made me a happy person and now I can wear a nice dress,” he says. ABC News found another patient, Lanuza, who lost 10 kilos, but said he would never go through something like that: “It really is a very extreme way to lose weight.”
Chugay guarantees that he would undergo his procedure if he needed to lose weight. When asked about their relatives, he answers: “Well, there have been no volunteers yet.”