By: Nicole Capo
Can’t hold your tongue when it comes to dieting? Consider sewing marlex to it — it’s all the rage in beauty-crazed Venezuela.
Marlex — a mesh-looking material largely used in hernia repair — is now being stitched onto the tongues of Venezuelan ladies looking for a quick, easy way to go on liquid diets and lose a few pounds. The material is abrasive and makes it difficult to swallow solid foods, so anyone undergoing the surgery has no choice but to stick to liquids. After 30 days, the tongue patch must be removed or the patient risks having it permanently embedded in their mouths because of pores in the material allowing tissue to grow around it. At that point, the patients can continue talking to their nutritionists about the best steps to take with their eating plans — but they’ll find themselves up to 30 pounds lighter than they were before the patch.
The strange diet method has taken off in Venezuela, where the fixation on female physical beauty has become so prevalent that many young girls are given the gift of breast enhancement surgery on their fifteenth birthday, or quinceañera.
The diet fad is certainly easier than invasive surgery, but that doesn’t mean it’s painless. People who have undergone the procedure have complained from difficulties in talking and even sleeping, as well as the inability to eat.
“At the start you can’t even move your tongue for the pain. I’ve tried to eat solid food but it’s impossible,” explained Yomaira Jaspe, one woman who had the marlex tongue patch and claimed the allure of an improved self-image post-diet makes the pain seem worthwhile. “It’s a huge inconvenience, but I’m doing it to feel better about myself. I was very fat,” Yomaira added.
The fad has already spread to Los Angeles, currently the only U.S. city offering the treatment. One clinic has already seen a few clients wanting the tongue patches but, at $2,000 a pop (versus the $150 you’d pay in Caracas), it’s looking likely that American women looking to lose weight fast may start vacationing in Venezuela to have the procedure done.
Is it worthwhile to go through all that pain and trouble just to lose a few pounds, especially when they could come right back after the patch is removed? BRB — we need to go chew this over while we enjoy some delicious cheeseburgers.
[Pic via Flickr - Mike Burns]