The procedure is necessary to address “recurring, painful and worsening” symptoms caused by abdominal hernia
Pope Francis will have intestinal surgery on Wednesday, the Vatican said, and will remain in the hospital for several days to recover. He is expected to make a full recovery.
After undergoing routine medical tests in Rome on Tuesday, the Pope, 86, was admitted to A. Gemelli University Hospital for a procedure to address “recurring, painful and worsening” symptoms caused by abdominal hernia, the Vatican said. The Pope will go under general anesthesia for the surgery.
"At the end of the General Audience, the Holy Father went to the A. Gemelli University Hospital where in the early afternoon he will undergo a surgical operation of laparotomy and plastic surgery of the abdominal wall with prostheses under general anesthesia,” the Vatican said in a statement to PEOPLE.
Pope Francis was in good spirits in St. Peter’s Square at his regular Wednesday morning general audience, The New York Times reported.
“The stay at the health facility will last several days to allow for the normal postoperative course and full functional recovery," according to the Vatican.
The Pope was also hospitalized in late March after seeking treatment for bronchitis, the Vatican said at the time. The pontiff was hospitalized at Gemelli Polyclinic where he received antibiotics administered intravenously, per the Associated Press.
When asked how he felt as he was leaving the hospital, Francis gave a thumbs up and joked, "Still alive, you know," according to the outlet.
Pope Francis' hospital stay for bronchitis came after Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said in a statement that the Pope recently "complained of some respiratory difficulties" before visiting Policlinico A. Gemelli for "medical checks," per CNN.
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"The outcome of the same showed a respiratory infection (excluding COVID-19 infection) that will require a few days of appropriate hospital medical therapy," the spokesperson said. "Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer."
Before he was hospitalized for that infection, the pontiff spoke at his weekly general audience at St Peter's Square, per the outlets. Afterwards, he was taken to the hospital for what the Vatican said at the time were "previously scheduled tests."
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