Written by 4:29 pm In the News

Pope to have abdominal surgery

Pope Francis was admitted to a Rome hospital on Wednesday for another abdominal operation under general anaesthesia, this time to repair a hernia most likely caused by scars from surgery in 2021.

Francis, 86, gave no sign that he was about to enter hospital for planned surgery during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square, where he was in good spirits, stopped to kiss babies and lingered to chat with newlyweds.

Shortly afterwards, he left the Vatican in a simple white Fiat 500 L for the Catholic-run Gemelli hospital a short drive away and which has a 10th-floor suite reserved for popes.

The surgery, scheduled to take place on Wednesday afternoon, will make it the third hospital stay for Francis since cardinals chose the Argentine as the first Latin American pope in 2013 and is the latest in a string of health problems in recent years.

The statement said the pope would undergo a laparotomy, or open abdominal surgery, and that a prosthesis would be used to reconstruct the abdominal wall.

A statement, which was unusually detailed by Vatican standards, said he was expected to stay for “a number of days” to allow for “normal post-operation progress and full recovery of his functions”.

It said the operation was necessary to repair a laparocele, a hernia that sometimes forms over a scar usually resulting from a previous surgery. It is more common in older people and it can also be caused by obesity or weakness of the abdominal wall muscles.

The pope’s medical team had decided in recent days that surgery was required because the condition was causing painful, intestinal occlusions.

Francis is known to be afraid of the negative effects of general anaesthesia, which are also more common in older people.


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