Pope Francis ‘had breakfast and walked’ after operation

Rome – Pope Francis, 84, on Tuesday had breakfast and got up to walk, two days after undergoing surgery for an inflamed large colon, the Vatican announced.

“His Holiness Pope Francis rested well during the night,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said in an update following Sunday’s operation.

“This morning he had breakfast, he read some newspapers and got up to walk.” Bruni added that the results from routine check-ups “are good”.

The Argentine pontiff underwent a planned operation on Sunday for what the Vatican described as symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon.

Also known as diverticulitis, it is a potentially painful inflammation of pockets that form in the colon. The three-hour operation was conducted under general anaesthetic and Francis underwent a left hemicolectomy, in which the descending colon — the part attached to the rectum — is removed. The remaining bit of the colon is then attached directly to the rectum.

On Monday, Bruni said the pope was “in good general condition, alert and breathing spontaneously”, adding that he would stay in Rome’s Gemelli hospital for around seven days unless there were complications.

According to Italian newspapers, the surgeons initially planned to carry out a less invasive laparoscopy on the pope but in the end reverted to open surgery.

Also known as keyhole surgery, laparoscopy involves a thin tube being inserted into the body, avoiding the need for large incisions in the skin. But the presence of a scar from previous abdominal surgery required a laparotomy, a type of open surgery, the reports said.  Health experts say it is not unusual to change method during an operation.

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