It's the latest extreme diet, but is it safe?
Dr. Nikolas Chugay, a Los Angeles cosmetic surgeon, claims to have introduced a bizarre new way to lose weight. He calls it the Tongue Patch Diet, and according to Dr. Chugay, hundreds of Americans desperate to lose weight are flocking to his operating room to try out the patch.
The procedure involves actually having a plastic mesh patch sewn right onto the top of your tongue. So how does that help you lose weight?
Dr. Chugay claims the patch makes eating solid foods painful. He says it only takes about 10 minutes to stitch on the stamp-sized patch. Then, patients must follow an 800-calorie-a-day liquid diet that Dr. Chugay prescribes in the form of a liquid shake.
“I’ve had about a seventy percent success rate with this procedure,” Dr. Chugay told INSIDE EDITION’s Lisa Guerrero.
Twenty-four year-old Erica Renteria was desperate to lose weight. She paid Dr. Chugay the $2,000 price tag and had her tongue stitched up.
“It didn’t hurt, it was just uncomfortable,” Renteria told Guerrero.
Renteria says she lost almost 20 pounds in the 30 days she wore the patch. For safety reasons, Dr. Chugay recommends removing the patch after a month.
“I was actually kind of proud of myself and like ‘oh wow’ I can’t believe I did it,” explained Renteria.
And Renteria says she was so happy with the results she shelled out another $2,000 and did the procedure again about a year later.
Dr. Chugay says the patch is totally safe and claims he's stitched over 800 tongues with the tiny patch that's actually designed to be used in hernia operations.
But not everyone agrees that the patch is safe.
“It’s ludicrous,” said Dr. Richard Chaffoo, Chief of Plastic Surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, CA.
“Is this a dangerous weight loss gimmick?” asked Guerrero.
“Yes. You’re playing with people’s lives. I’m not aware of any other doctor that does this,” said Dr. Chaffoo.
So just who is Dr. Chugay?
INSIDE EDITION found Dr. Chugay’s license was revoked three different times but he was allowed to continue practicing because he agreed to probation instead.
“Do you think you’re running a safe cosmetic operation here?” asked Guerrero.
“I think I am. Yes,” answered Dr. Chugay.
“This binder is full of dozens of patients who have sued you for malpractice. What is your response to that?" asked Guerrero
“You know what, I don’t really want to discuss that,” said Dr. Chugay.
Dr. Chugay didn’t like having his medical record put under the knife.
“Let's get back to the patch. Given your history, do you think it’s a good idea to be performing this new procedure?” asked Guerrero.
“I think it’s a very safe procedure,” responded Dr. Chugay.
And Dr. Chugay says he has no plans to stop his tongue patch sugeries anytime soon.