Pope Francis drank fluids and received the Eucharist Thursday on his first full day of recovery from a three-hour operation to remove intestinal scar tissue and repair an abdominal wall hernia, the Vatican said.
Francis, 86, rested “extensively” overnight and continued to rest on Thursday at the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic in Rome, where his condition was stable and his post-operative recovery considered fair, the Vatican said in a statement. He was on a liquid diet but received the Eucharist.
Among the well-wishes the pope received was a poster from the Peruvian family whose baby the pope baptized March 31 at the Gemelli Hospital during his last stay while recovering from bronchitis. Francis briefly called her mother to thank her, the Vatican said.
The poster featured a widely circulated photo of the pope stroking the cheek of the baby, Michelangelo, after the baptism as his mother looked on.
Pope Francis was admitted to the Gemelli on Wednesday for his second major abdominal operation in two years, following 2021 surgery to remove part of his colon. During the procedure, doctors removed adhesions — or internal scars — in the intestine that had caused a partial blockage. They also repaired a hernia that had formed over a previous scar by placing a prosthetic mesh in the abdominal wall.
Dr. Sergio Alfieri, director of abdominal and endocrine sciences at the Gemelli in Rome, who had already operated on the colon pontiff in 2021, said the surgery was carried out without complications and no other pathologies were discovered. He explained that the tissue removed was benign and that after he recovers, Francisco should be fine.
Alfieri revealed that, in addition to the operation almost two years ago, before being elected pope in 2013, Francis had undergone abdominal surgeries in his native Argentina, which also left him with scars.
At a press conference, he explained that Francisco was awake and even joking.
“When will we do the third,” the pope said, according to Alfieri.
Francis is expected to spend several days in the papal suite located on the 10th floor of the Gemelli and all his audiences until June 18 have been cancelled.
The surgery was scheduled after Francisco complained of increasingly intense pain and intestinal obstructions. After going to the hospital on Tuesday for tests, the pope was admitted Wednesday morning after his weekly general audience and entered the operating room shortly after.
It is probable that the operation has been carried out now so that the pontiff has enough time to recover before the trips planned for this summer: from August 2 to 6 he will visit Portugal to attend World Youth Day, between August 31 and August and September 4 will be in Mongolia; and on September 23, he will pay a one-day visit to Marseille, France.
Apparently no protrusions or bulges of the intestine were found in the torn part of the hernia.