Pope Francis’s three-hour hernia operation a ‘success’

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Pope Francis has had a successful operation to repair a hernia in his abdominal wall.

The Vatican said there were no complications after the three-hour surgery, during which the 86-year-old was under general anaesthesia.

The pontiff is expected to remain at Rome’s Gemelli hospital for several days.

While hernia operations are rarely performed on an emergency basis, the procedure appeared somewhat urgent, scheduled just a day after Francis went to the hospital for tests.

His doctors are also believed to have wanted to give him ample time for recovery ahead of a busy travel schedule later this summer.

The pope was suffering from a “painful and worsening” hernia that formed over a previous scar, presumably from his 2021 colon surgery.

Francis went to the hospital for previously unannounced tests on Tuesday, returned to the Vatican and presided over his audience on Wednesday morning, but then went straight to Gemelli for the procedure afterward.

The Pope spent three days in hospital with a respiratory infection in March – joking “I’m still alive!” when he was discharged – and last month had to skip audiences because of a fever.

Two years ago, he also had 33cm (13 inches) of his colon removed because of an inflammation and narrowing of the large intestine.

He is also missing part of one lung, which was removed when he was a young man in Argentina, and often uses a cane to walk due to knee pain.

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