The Radical Weight Loss Surgery That Could Offer Andre 'A New Life'

At 367 kilograms, doctors estimate Andre Nasr has a 30 percent chance of being alive in the next ten years.

Andre Nasr has been addicted to food for as long as he can remember.

"Every event, every occasion was all based around food," the 39-year-old told The Project.

"You know, someone was getting married, the first thing we talked about was what food we were going to serve."

His wife describes food as his "drug" -- an addiction similar to the likes of heroin, or alcohol, that stemmed from his childhood. By the age of five, Nasr weighed 50 kilograms.

Now, morbidly obese and weighing 367 kilograms, he is undergoing a sleeve gastrectomy -- a surgical weight loss procedure that he, his family and doctors hope will give him "a new life".

Andre Nasr is about to undergo surgery that is both potentially life-saving and life-threatening. Image: The Project

Nasr's surgeon, Dr Craig Taylor, said while his size poses an increased risk, the surgery is in "every way life saving".

"I'd estimate his chance of dying from the procedure would be between three to five percent. But he could also die from his obesity," Dr Taylor told The Project.

"I estimate Andre's chance of being alive in the next ten years is around 30 percent. That's a really terrible death sentence for a man of his age to be facing."

Gastric sleeve resection is a form of weight loss surgery whereby approximately 70 to 80 percent of a patient's stomach is removed, reducing their stomach to about 15 percent of its original size.

It's one surgeons such as Dr Taylor say we will be seeing more of as a solution to a spiraling obesity epidemic, due to greater understanding of what causes it.

READ MORE: Australia's Rate Of Severe Obesity Has Doubled

Bariatric surgeon Dr Craig Taylor says understanding of the causes of obesity is improving. Image: The Project

"Bariatric surgery has been done for the last 50 years but what has changed is the public perception -- now it's being embraced as mainstream medical care for patients with the disorder that we now call obesity," Taylor said.

Almost two in three Australian adults and one in four children were overweight or obese in 2014-15, according to the Australian Institute of Health Welfare.

The latest report found 22,700 weight loss procedures were recorded in that time, up from 9,300 in 2005-2006.

Andre Nasr has struggled with his weight since he was a child. Image: Supplied

A growing pool of research has looked into the causes of obesity, finding its physiological mechanisms can effectively be altered through surgery.

"Obesity was previously thought of as being a lifestyle choice, a consequence of poor motivation and life decisions. We now know it's much more complex than that," Taylor said.

"Our patients have a high setpoint, meaning their weight is at a higher level than it should be. Every time they try to lower their weight through diets, their body fights it, so they feel more hungry, they start to burn less energy and their metabolism changes."

This relentless cycle has plagued Nasr for his whole life. Back in 2014, he weighed 468 kilograms and hadn't left his home for more than a year, at one point being rushed to hospital after contracting pneumonia.

A team of surgeons, nurses and anesthetists have weighed up the risks for Nasr's surgery. Image: The Project

While he has lost and regained about 200kg, he has never lost his appetite. That's where the gastric sleeve procedure comes in -- to not just limit his capacity but also his desire to eat.

"We are essentially dividing (his) stomach into two -- 80 percent will be taken out and 20 percent will be (his) new stomach. That's going to reduce (his) hungry levels and it's going to allow (him) to feel fuller sooner," Taylor said.

Researchers have found levels of the hunger hormone known as ghrelin decline significantly following weight loss procedures including gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy.

Nasr hopes the surgery will improve his quality of life with his wife and son. Image: The Project

Bariatric -- or weight loss -- surgery has also been found to resolve co-morbidities linked to obesity, such as as type 2 diabetes.

"We have a major problem not only with obesity but with type two diabetes," Taylor said.

"Now we're starting to see the ability to put type two diabetes into long term remission through surgery."

The surgery is costly, and comes with risks carefully laid out by Taylor's team. And it's not the end game -- moreso a "tool" to help Nasr get his weight down and keep it off.

For the husband and father, that could mean picnics and holidays with his family.

"It means a new life."

To watch the full story, tune into The Project tonight at 6.30pm TONIGHT ON TEN AND TENPLAY.