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Pope to undergo surgery with general anesthesia


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA


I.Media - published on 06/07/23

The Pope will undergo surgery on his abdomen under general anesthesia this afternoon, June 7, at the Gemelli Hospital in Rome.

Pope Francis is scheduled to undergo surgery under general anesthesia at the Gemelli Hospital this afternoon, the Vatican press office announced on June 7, 2023. The operation will involve an abdominal wall reconstruction “with prosthesis under general anesthesia” requiring a “laparotomy“, i.e.  a surgical procedure involving the opening of the abdomen.

His hospital stay “will last several days to allow for the normal post-operation progress and full functional recovery,” the Holy See explains.

The 86-year-old Pontiff held his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square this morning without showing any particular signs of fatigue. He was still on his feet in the Square, greeting newlywed couples, when the press office announced his upcoming operation.

The Pope left at around 10.50 a.m. and returned to the Roman hospital that he had visited Tuesday for clinical tests.

In the early afternoon, he is scheduled to undergo a laparotomy and abdominal wall reconstruction with prosthesis under general anesthesia, the Holy See Press Office statement said. The operation, coordinated over the last few days by the medical team assisting Pope Francis, “has become necessary due to an incarcerated laparocele which causes recurrent, painful and worsening sub occlusive syndromes,” said the Holy See’s press release.

This operation consists in closing the weakened abdominal wall, in which digestive structures can become incarcerated, a phenomenon that can momentarily interrupt the passage.

Contacted by I.MEDIA, an anesthetist explained that this type of operation does not involve the organs of the digestive system per se.

After his operation, the Pope will remain at the Gemelli Hospital for “several days to allow for the normal post-operation progress and full functional recovery.” During his colon operation in July 2021, Pope Francis was hospitalized for 10 days.

Following that operation, the Pope has often said that he felt he had not coped well with the effects of the general anesthesia, and did not wish to undergo another operation, in particular for his knee.

A normal end to the general audience

Before leaving St. Peter’s Square in the Popemobile, Pope Francis took the time to greet the delegation from the Dioceses of Bayeux-Lisieux and Séez in France, who had come to accompany the relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, present on the stage during the catechesis.

The Pontiff asked Jacques Habert, Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux, to pray for him, “for his mission and his health,” the delegation told I.MEDIA. According to the diocese, the Pope was then to pray privately before the relics of his favorite saint at Casa Santa Marta.

Pope FrancisPope Francis health
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