An increasingly popular weight loss measure known as the "tongue patch diet" is getting reviews and warnings from doctors who say the procedure is "dangerous."
The medical device is called the Weight Reduction Patch and was launched by Beverly Hills Surgeon Nikolas Chugay in 2009. Chugay claims that when used properly the patch, which is sewn onto your tongue, allows a person to lose up to 30 pounds in one month.
The catch is patients are only allowed to have the patch for one month after that. Chugay's website states that the patch could become permanently attached to the tongue as the tissue around the patch beings to grow back.
The patch leads to weight loss because it makes the "chewing of solid foods very difficult and painful, limiting the patient to a liquid diet," according to Chugay's website. The tongue patch is made of the same type of plastic used in hernia repair surgery.
Chugays said the tongue patch is an alternative to more invasive and expensive weight loss methods such as gastric bypass or lapband surgery.
Chugay's states that the "reversible procedure ... lasts less than an hour," and the patient is then put on to an easy to follow liquid diet.
Chugay claims that he has only preformed the $2,000 procedure on around 60 women since 2009, but the trend is growing internationally, with records indicating that in Venezuela more than 900 women got the patch since 2011 for only $150.
However doctors are beginning to come forward to address possible serious health consequences. Dr. Richard Chaffoo, a plastic surgeon in La Jolla, Calif., had previously labeled the procedure "dangerous."
"With any kind of thing you put in there and suture into the tongue, you run the risk of getting an infection," Chaffoo told Yahoo Shine.
"You're going to be drooling a lot, it's going to be really painful. Anything that's in there that shouldn't be there's going to rub the surface raw. You could get an ulcer, an infection. It could dislodge and go down your throat and cause an airway obstruction."
The FDA has yet to approve the procedure.