The world's fattest man has had a life-saving operation and lost more than 280 pounds.

Paul Mason now weighs 686 pounds. The ex-postman, 48, spent the weekend in intensive care after undergoing complicated gastric bypass surgery.

Sources said he was recovering well and looking forward to losing more weight.

Mason took the title of world's fattest after Mexican Manuel Uribe, 43, shed more than half his 1,260 pounds to get married last year.

The operation involved making a small "pouch" by stapling off part of Mason's stomach.

All his food will now go into the pouch, bypassing the rest of his stomach and severely restricting the amount he can eat.

Before the surgery, doctors had put Mason on a crash diet to bring his weight down to a safe level.

Some of his weight loss would have come through fat being sucked out during surgery, but the rest was up to Mason himself.

"Paul is looking pretty well. He has lost a lot of weight but has a lot more to lose," said a spokesman from the National Health Services.

"He said his aim is to be able to get into a mobility wheelchair and eventually drive a car. Since the operation he's been in very good spirits, chatting and joking with the doctors and nurses."

Mason, from Ipswich, Suffolk, was driven 143 miles in an ambulance with reinforced beds to have his surgery at the St. Richard's Hospital in Chichester, West Sussex.

He will spend at least two weeks in hospital and will need another major operation in six months.

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