Pope Francis hospitalized for another abdominal surgery

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Pope Francis was again admitted to a Roman hospital Wednesday, this time for another abdominal operation, the Vatican announced.

The 86-year-old pontiff was scheduled Wednesday afternoon to undergo a “laparotomy and abdominal wall surgery” at the A. Gemelli University Hospital, where he’s expected to remain for several days, according to the Holy See.

“The surgery, decided upon over the past few days by the medical team assisting the Holy Father, became necessary due to an incisional laparocele (hernia) that is causing recurrent, painful and worsening sub-occlusive syndromes,” the Holy See said in a statement.

The pope previously underwent intestinal surgery in July 2021 to treat diverticular stenosis of the colon. He was also hospitalized for three days earlier this year due to a bout with bronchitis.

Francis’ hospitalization Wednesday followed an appearance at his general audience at St. Peter’s Square earlier in the day. He had consulted with doctors about his condition Wednesday during a visit to Gemelli University Hospital, the Vatican said.

A laparotomy is defined as an incision into the abdominal cavity, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The Holy See said the pope would receive general anesthesia for the surgery and that he would remain under the care of doctors in order to “allow for a normal post-operative course and full functional recovery.”

The pope’s prior hospitalization for the respiratory illness in late March came shortly before Easter, a busy time for the leader of the Catholic Church.

Upon leaving the medical facility on April 1, Francis gave a thumbs up and joked to reporters he was “still alive.” He then led a Mass for Palm Sunday the following day and made scheduled appearances throughout Holy Week.

Francis, who became the pope in March 2013, has also recently dealt with knee issues and had part of a lung removed many years earlier.