Pope Francis has gone to hospital for surgery on his intestine.
He has arrived at Rome’s Gemelli hospital for the procedure, which comes two years after he had 13in of his colon removed because of an inflammation and narrowing of the large intestine.
The Vatican said Francis, 86, would be put under general anaesthesia and would be in hospital for several days.
The pope is undergoing what the Vatican said was a “laparotomy and abdominal wall plastic surgery with prosthesis” to treat a “recurrent, painful and worsening” constriction of the intestine.
A laparotomy is open abdominal surgery. It can help a surgeon both diagnose and treat issues.
“The stay at the health facility will last several days to allow for the normal post-operative course and full functional recovery,” the statement said.
In July 2021, Francis spent 10 days at the Gemelli to remove a section of his large intestine. He had suffered what the Vatican said was a severe inflammation and narrowing of the colon.
In an interview with The Associated Press in January, Francis said the diverticulosis, or bulges in his intestinal wall, that prompted the 2021 surgery, had returned.
Francis went to the Gemelli on Tuesday for what the Vatican said were medical tests. It revealed no details at the time.
Francis, 86, had appeared in good form on Wednesday morning at his audience in St Peter’s Square, zipping around the square in his popemobile greeting the faithful. He also had two meetings beforehand, the Vatican said.
The Argentine pope 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.
Francis has had a packed schedule of late, with multiple audiences each day.
The Vatican has recently confirmed a travel-filled August, when the Holy See and Italy are usually on holiday, with a four-day visit to Portugal the first week of August and a similarly long trip to Mongolia starting on August 31.
In a sign that the trips were very much on, the Vatican released the planned itinerary for Francis’ visit to Portugal for World Youth Day events from August 2-6.
The itinerary released on Tuesday confirms a typically busy schedule that includes all the protocol meetings of an official state visit plus multiple events with young people and a day trip to the Marian shrine at Fatima.