FRIDAY, July 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Pope Francis’ treatment and recovery are proceeding as planned after his intestinal surgery on July 4, the Vatican said Friday in its daily medical update.
It said the 84-year-old pontiff is walking, working and has celebrated mass at the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome, and will deliver his weekly Sunday blessing from there, the Associated Press reported. Barring complications, he’s expected to remain at the Gemelli, in a special section reserved for popes, for the remainder of the week.
Francis’ temperature is normal again after a slight fever on Wednesday evening, according to the update.
He had half of his colon removed for what the Vatican described as a “severe” narrowing of his large intestine. He is expected to remain at Gemelli through the week, the AP reported.
The Vatican has shared few details about the pope’s diagnosis or the procedure he underwent, saying only that he had entered the hospital for planned surgery for diverticular stenosis, or a narrowing of the colon. The surgery generally involves removing the left side of the colon and then joining up the remaining healthy parts of the large intestine.
Diverticular stenosis is a common problem that affects roughly 80% of people over the age of 80, but surgery can become necessary if the lining of the colon becomes so scarred that it is obstructed, Dr. Yann Parc, head of staff at the Saint Antoine Hospital in Paris, told the AP. Parc was not involved in the pope’s care.
“It looks like the pope had this pathology, and understandably the Italian surgeons have removed that part and stitched it to the rectum to recreate a normal digestive transit,” Parc told the wire service.
Francis has enjoyed fairly robust health during his tenure, though he lost the upper part of one lung in his youth due to an infection. He also suffers from sciatica, or nerve pain, that makes him walk with a limp, the AP said.
According to the latest Vatican update, Francis has resumed working and is “alternating it with moments of reading texts.” He celebrated Mass in the private papal apartment at Gemelli on Thursday afternoon, “attended by all those assisting him during his hospitalization,” the Vatican said.
Find out more about diverticular stenosis at the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons.
SOURCE: Associated Press