Pope Francis has his second bowel surgery in two years
Rome – Pope Francis underwent bowel surgery on Wednesday, two years after his deathdue to inflammation and narrowing of the colon.
The procedure successfully removed intestinal scar tissue and repaired a hernia in Francis’ abdominal wall, the most recent ailments to afflict the 86-year-old pope.
The Vatican said there were no complications during the three-hour operation, which required Francis to be put under general anesthesia. The pope was expected to stay at Gemelli Hospital in Rome for several days and all papal audiences were canceled until June 18.
dr Sergio Alfieri, director of abdominal and endocrinology at Gemelli, who also performed Francis’ colon surgery in 2021, said the surgery was a success. A short time later the Pope was awake, attentive and even joking.
“When do we do the third?” He quoted Francis as saying.
During the operation, doctors removed adhesions, or internal scars, on the bowel that had been causing partial constipation and pain for the past few months. Alfieri revealed that Francis had previously undergone undisclosed abdominal surgery in Argentina prior to 2013, which also left scars.
A prosthetic mesh was placed in the abdominal wall to repair the hernia that had formed over a previous scar, Alfieri said. He added that the pope had no other illnesses, that the tissue removed was benign and that he should be fine once he recovers.
Apparently, the feared bulging of the intestine due to the hernia could not be determined.
“It seems they operated on him in time without affecting his intestines,” said Dr. Walter Longo, chief of colon and rectal surgery at Yale University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the surgery and commented after consulting the Vatican’s statement on the procedure.
“The stay in the health facility will last several days to allow for the normal postoperative course and full recovery of functionality,” the statement said.
Francis spent 10 days with Gemelli in July 2021 due to his previous bowel surgery. He had suffered severe inflammation and narrowing of the colon, the Vatican said.
In an interview with The Associated Press in January, Francis said the diverticulosis, or bulge in his intestinal wall, that prompted the 2021 surgery had returned.
Francis went to Gemelli on Tuesday for medical tests, the Vatican said. Details were not announced at the time.
The 86-year-old Pope Francis appeared in good form at his audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday morning, zooming across the square in his popemobile and greeting the faithful. The Vatican said he also had two meetings on Wednesday morning.
The Argentine Pope had part of a lung removed as a young man. He also suffers from sciatic nerve pain and has been dependent on a wheelchair and walker for more than a year due to a ligament strain in his knee.
The Pope spent three days in the hospital at the end of March. Initially, the Vatican said he went for scheduled tests, but later revealed he had experienced chest pains and was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with bronchitis. He was given antibiotics intravenously and was released on April 1st.
Francis has had a busy schedule lately with multiple listeners a day. The Vatican recently confirmed a busy August, during which the Holy See and Italy are normally on vacation, with a four-day visit to Portugal in the first week of August and a similarly long trip to Mongolia from August 31.
In a sign that travel was well underway, the Vatican on Tuesday released the planned itinerary for Francis’ visit to Portugal for World Youth Day events from August 2-6. The itinerary confirms a typically busy schedule, which includes all the protocol meetings of an official state visit, as well as several events with young people and a day trip to the Marian Shrine in Fatima.