Weight loss fads are everywhere and utilize almost everything; from prancing around like a horse to eating just tuna fish and pineapple, people will try just about anything to lose weight. This desire to be thin is what drives the market for Venezuela’s new diet trend: the “miracle” tongue patch.
So what exactly does the tongue patch do?
According to a report from Time, the weight loss tool was developed by Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Nikolas Chugay who offers the accompanying surgical procedure in his private office for $2,000.
Women and men who are able to afford this procedure will have a plastic patch sewn to the top of their tongues. Eat solid food with this patch on is intended to be very painful, thus encouraging users to eat less or turn to a liquid diet.
While $2,000 may seem like an excessive cost to pay for chronic pain while you eat, the procedure has taken off in Venezuela where it is done for significantly less—around $150. The “miracle” tongue patch has become mainstream in this Latin American nation, and Venezuela’s fixation on beauty only continues to drive the product demand.
“I don’t have the willpower to go on a diet, so this was the only way,” Venezuela native Yomaira Jaspe explained to Time as her reason for undergoing the risky procedure. “Venezuelans are very beauty-conscious, so when we offer something that shows concrete results, people will put that before its extreme nature.”
While, according to Chugay’s website, the “miracle” tongue patch only takes an hour to apply, individuals with the surgical attachment may see their speech become altered and significant swelling of their tongue. Other complications, according to Brian Evans, who runs a Beverly Hills plastic surgery practice, include infection and rejection by the body which can worsen inflammation.
What’s more, the “Miracle” tongue patch can only be worn for about a month. It is deliberately designed to be porous, and if it is left in too long, the tissues of the tongue will grow around the plastic patch. At the one-month mark, the tongue patch is removed and patients are then counseled on their nutritional habits. By this time, the goal is that those using the “miracle” tongue patch have already adjusted to a new diet and are less likely to go back to old eating habits.
MSN News indicates the “miracle” tongue patch is one of many fad diet tools in Venezuela; other weight loss programs popular in the country include the feeding tube diet, the Asian soup diet, and the Australian “pranic” diet.