Pope Francis undergoes intestinal operation 'without complications'

Pope Francis

 VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis undergwent surgery under general anaesthetic for a “painful and worsening” intestinal condition at the Gemelli Polyclinic hospital Wednesday, Vatican sources said. The 86-year-old pontiff was taken from the operating theatre to his special suite on the 10th floor of the hospital after the operation and was expected to remain at the hospital for several days convalescing after the operation. The Vatican announced that Francis' regular schedule of public and private audiences is suspended until June 18.

 The operation was carried out by Prof. Sergio Alfieri, who operated on Francis for a colon problem two years ago. A medical bulletin said the operation took place "without complications" and that the pope had "reacred well," to the surgery.

  “The Holy Father at the end of the general audience went to the Gemelli Polyclinic where early in the afternoon he will undergo general anaesthesia and a Laparotomy surgical operation and plasticification of the abdominal wall with  abdominoplasty,” Vatican press office Director Matteo Bruni said earlier in a statement.

 “The operation, arranged in recent days by the medical team that supports the Holy Father, was made necessary by a strangled hernia that is causing recurrent painful and worsening intestinal blockage syndromes.”

 “His stay at the hospital will last several days to allow for a normal post-operation course and full functional recovery.”

 Two years ago Francis he had 33 cm of his colon removed because of an inflammation and narrowing of the large intestine.

 The pope spent three days at the Gemelli hospital in late March. Initially, the Vatican said he had gone in for scheduled tests, but the pontiff later revealed he had felt pain in his chest and was rushed to the hospital where bronchitis was diagnosed. He was put on intravenous antibiotics and was released April 1, quipping that he was “still alive.”

 The Argentine leader of the Roman Catholic Church had part of one lung removed when he was a young man. He also suffers from sciatica nerve pain and has been using a wheelchair and walker for more than a year because of strained ligaments in his knee.