Papacy: Pope ‘responds well’ to colon surgery at Rome hospital

Pope Francis raises his hand in greeting as he delivers the Angelus hours before being admitted to Gemelli hospital
The Pope waved to crowds at the Vatican shortly before he was admitted to hospital on Sunday

Pope Francis has undergone successful surgery to treat a colon problem at a hospital in Rome, the Vatican says.

The 84-year-old “responded well” to the treatment, which was performed under general anaesthetic, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

It is the first time Pope Francis has been admitted to hospital since his election in 2013.

Earlier on Sunday, the Argentine pontiff addressed thousands of visitors in St Peter’s Square.

In an earlier statement, the Vatican said Pope Francis was being treated at the Gemelli University Hospital for “symptomatic diverticular stenosis” of the colon.

Diverticular disease is a condition that involves bulges in the wall of the large intestine. This can lead to a narrowing, of the colon.

Symptoms include bloating, recurrent abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits.

The Vatican did not provide further details about the surgery or how long the Pope would remain in hospital.

During his Sunday blessing in St Peter’s Square, the Pope announced that he would go to Slovakia in September after celebrating Mass in Budapest, the capital of neighbouring Hungary.

Born in 1936 in Buenos Aires, Francis lost part of his right lung at the age of 21.

He also suffers from a hip problem and sciatica, which causes pain that radiates from the lower back to the legs.

In 2014, he had to cancel a number of engagements because of a reported stomach ailment.

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