Pope Francis will have an abdominal hernia procedure on Wednesday at a Rome hospital, where he is scheduled to stay for “several days,” according to the Vatican.
The 86-year-old Pope, who had colon surgery in 2021, has a hernia that is “causing recurrent, painful, and worsening” symptoms, according to Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni.
It came after the pope’s brief visit to the Gemelli hospital in Rome on Tuesday, during which he reportedly underwent “clinical tests.”
On Wednesday, Francis held his weekly general audience as usual before heading to the Gemelli.
“He will have a laparotomy and abdominal wall surgery… under general anaesthesia in the early afternoon,” Bruni said.
A laparotomy is a surgical incision made into the abdomen.
“The stay at the health facility will last several days to allow for the normal post-operative course and full functional recovery,” according to the Vatican.
Francis, who has led the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics for a decade, has struggled with health concerns in recent months.
He had surgery at Gemelli in July 2021 for a type of diverticulitis, an inflammation of pockets that form in the lining of the gut.
He was released after ten days.
Francis was also admitted to the hospital for three nights at the end of March for bronchitis, which was treated with medication.
He also suffers sciatica and continuous discomfort in his right knee.
The pope’s hospitalizations have always stirred anxiety and fueled speculation about his future.