Pope Francis is out of surgery and in “good overall condition” a day after his second abdominal operation in just two years, the Vatican said.
The 86-year-old Catholic leader was admitted to Rome’s A. Gemelli University Hospital Wednesday where he underwent a three-hour operation to remove intestinal scar tissue and repair a hernia. The pontiff’s medical team said the surgery was completed “without complications” and that no other problems were discovered.
“The medical staff following the post-operative progress of the Pontiff reports that Pope Francis spent a quiet night, managing to rest for a long time,” said Matt Bruni, Director of the Holy See Press Office. “He is in good overall condition, and is alert and breathing on his own.”
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Francis didn’t replace a pope who had died. He succeeded Pope Benedict XVI, a conservative, who was the first pontiff to retire in 600 years.
Dr. Sergio Alfieri, who also removed a portion of Francis’ colon in 2021, told reporters that the pope was awake, alert, and jokingly asked “when will we do the third one?”
As a standard precaution, Francis is expected to remain in the hospital for five to seven days recovering. Alfieri said he should eventually be able to return to the Vatican and resume normal activities, but should avoid lifting heavy objects.
This is not the first time the pope has been hospitalized in recent months, as this is just the latest in a series of complications. Francis was hospitalized in March for four days due to acute pneumonitis — or inflammation of the lungs. He has also been suffering from strained ligaments in his right knee for months and said last month that “some days are more painful” than others.
The most recent operation comes ahead of several international trips the pope has planned later this summer. He’s expected to visit Portugal at the beginning of August to celebrate World Youth Day, followed by a trip to Mongolia later that month, and then a trip to Marseille, France, in September.
“The Pope has been made aware of the messages of closeness and affection that have arrived in the last few hours, and has expressed his gratitude, while at the same time asking for continued prayers,” Bruni said.