'No complications' following Pope Francis' intestinal surgery, says Vatican

Pope Francis attends his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at The Vatican, Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
Pope Francis attends his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at The Vatican, Wednesday, June 7, 2023. Copyright Andrew Medichini/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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The pontiff is expected to remain at a hospital in Rome for several days after undergoing surgery on his intestine, two years after he had 33 centimetres of his colon removed because of inflammation and narrowing of the large intestine.

Pope Francis underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair a hernia in his abdominal wall, the latest illness to befall the 86-year-old pontiff who had part of his colon removed two years ago.


The Vatican said there were no complications after the three-hour surgery, during which Francis was under general anaesthesia.

The 86-year-old pontiff was expected to remain at Rome’s Gemelli hospital for several days. As a precaution, all papal audiences were cancelled until 18 June, the Vatican said.

In a previous statement, the Vatican said the Pope would be getting a “laparotomy and abdominal wall plastic surgery with prosthesis” to treat a “recurrent, painful and worsening” constriction of the intestine.

A laparotomy is open abdominal surgery. It can help a surgeon diagnose and treat issues. The statement said Francis suffered from a blocked laparocele, which is a hernia that formed over a previous scar.

Francis remained in charge of the Vatican and the 1.3-billion-strong Catholic Church, even while he was unconscious and in the hospital.

The Argentine pope had part of one lung removed when he was a young man. He also suffers from sciatica nerve pain.

Francis said in January, the diverticulosis, or bulges in his intestinal wall, that had prompted the 2021 surgery, had returned.

Additionally, in late March, Francis spent three days at Gemelli for an acute case of bronchitis, during which he was treated with intravenous antibiotics. He emerged on April 1 saying “Still alive!”

The 86-year-old had appeared in good form Wednesday morning at his audience in St. Peter’s Square, zipping around the square in his popemobile greeting the faithful. He also had two meetings beforehand, the Vatican said.

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