Pope Francis will remain in the hospital for a week while recovering from intestinal surgery, the Vatican says

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  • Pope Francis was alert and in good condition the day after undergoing intestinal surgery.

  • He had a three-hour operation on Sunday that involved removing half of his colon, the AP reported.

  • The Vatican expects him to be hospitalized for about seven days.

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Pope Francis is "in good general condition," the Vatican said in a statement Monday following the pope's intestinal surgery on Sunday.

The 84-year-old pope underwent a three-hour operation that involved removing half of his colon, the AP reported. He is expected to stay hospitalized for about seven days - assuming there are no complications - in a suite reserved for popes in Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic.

The Vatican's Sunday announcement that the pope had been hospitalized for surgery came as a surprise to the public, NBC reported. Earlier that day, he gave an address from the window of his study, but he did not mention the upcoming surgery.

The Vatican said in a Sunday statement that the surgery had been planned.

An Italian newspaper reported that surgeons started the operation laparoscopically but encountered complications and had to operate with wider incisions, according to the AP, which said the Italian paper did not cite its sources.

The statement from the Vatican on Monday did not mention any complications.

The pope's bowel issues are very common in older people, doctors told the AP. But the physicians said that only about 10% to 20% of people with similar problems need surgery. For some people, the only way to alleviate the pain is to remove part of the colon.

"This is a major operation," Dr. Walter Longo, chief of colon and rectal surgery at Yale University School of Medicine, told the AP. The primary concern, Longo said, is making sure that the parts of the bowel that were stitched together remain attached.

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