Pope Francis in good condition and alert after intestinal surgery

The Pope is “in good condition, alert and breathing on his own” after undergoing an operation that involved removing half his colon, the Vatican has said.

The three-hour procedure took place on Sunday and Francis, 84, is expected to stay in Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic for a further seven days.

The procedure came after what the Holy See said was a diverticular stenosis, or narrowing of the pope’s sigmoid portion of the large intestine.

A brief medical bulletin said the pontiff was spending his first morning recovering following the surgery on the left side of his large intestine.

The statement did not specify whether the decision to remove part of the colon had been taken before or during the surgery.

He is staying in a special, 10th floor suite that the hospital keeps available for use by a pope, after Pope John Paul II stayed there several times for various medical problems

Before the update the Vatican had given few details about the operation at the Catholic hospital.

Pope Francis gave the Angelus to crowds in St Peter’s Square just hours before his surgery.

An Italian cardinal told reporters he had been informed that the pope was doing well.

“Our prayer and our closeness are very great,” Cardinal Enrico Feroci said at Rome’s airport where he was catching a flight.

The Italian news agency ANSA quoted him as saying that he had heard earlier in the morning from another cardinal, Angelo De Donatis, “and he told me that the pope is well”.

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi’s office said the leader “expresses affectionate wishes for a rapid convalescence and quick healing”.

Twice daily updates on Francis’s condition are expected to be issued by the Vatican.

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