Surgery on pope was successful, doctors say he can travel


Pope Francis underwent a three-hour operation in a Rome hospital on Wednesday to repair a hernia, which doctors said was successful enough that he should have no limitations on his travels and other activities after he recovers.

"He even joked with me about when we would do the third operation," said chief surgeon Doctor Sergio Alfieri, who carried out a first abdominal operation on Francis in 2021.

Alfieri, speaking to reporters at Rome's Gemelli hospital, said no other ailments or pathologies were discovered during the operation.

The surgeon said the 86-year-old Francis had reacted well to general anaesthesia and that he expected the pope to be in hospital for about 5-7 days.

But he cautioned that while strong, the pope was elderly and recently had bronchitis so "we will take all necessary precautions" regarding the timing of the hospital stay.

Francis has two trips planned for this summer and Alfieri said he saw no medical reason why the pope would have to change his schedule.

His only caution to the pope was that he should not lift any heavy objects.

"He looked at me as if to say 'I'm the pope. I don't lift weights,'" Alfieri said.

Francis was taken to hospital after his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, where he gave no sign that he was about to enter the hospital for the planned surgery.

The operation took place in the Catholic-run hospital a short drive away from the Vatican and which has a 10th-floor suite reserved for popes.

It is the third hospital stay for Francis since cardinals chose the Argentinian in 2013 as the first Latin American pope. It is the latest in a string of health problems in recent years.

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