Pope Francis undergoes intestinal surgery in Rome

(ROME) — Pope Francis had intestinal surgery on Wednesday and will spend several days in the hospital recovering, Vatican officials said.

The Holy See Press Office announced Wednesday evening local time that the surgery was over and that “it took place without complications and lasted three hours.”

After his general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday, the pontiff went to Gemelli hospital in Rome and underwent “a Laparotomy and abdominal wall plastic surgery with prosthesis under general anaesthesia,” Matteo Bruni, director of the press office for The Holy See, said in a statement in Italian.

The surgery was arranged within the last few days, the Vatican said. He’s expected to stay in the hospital for several days to make a full recovery.

The 86-year-old pontiff spent three days in the hospital in March after he complained he was having difficulty breathing.

The pontiff’s March hospital stay had gone well “with normal medical progress,” as he recovered from bronchitis, Vatican officials said at the time.

Francis also had intestinal surgery two years ago for diverticular stenosis. That three-hour operation included an hemicolectomy, which is the removal of part of the colon.

Francis often uses a wheelchair or walker during public events, including when he presided over the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, his retired predecessor, in January.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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