Alfieri, the pope’s main surgeon, said at a press conference shortly after the operation that Francis had been experiencing increasing pain for several months due to the hernia and decided on June 6 to undergo the surgery to correct it.
It was the 86-year-old Francis’ fifth operation, the second as pope. The first took place in 1957 and involved the removal of a part of his right lung, which had developed cysts following an illness. He also had an appendectomy in the past, according to Alfieri.
The second surgery, on the pope’s abdomen in 1980, removed his gallbladder, according to Vatican News, which referenced the 2021 book “La Salute dei Papi” (“The Health of the Popes”) by Nelson Castro.
Alfieri said June 7 that Pope Francis’ incisional hernia was likely from the incision of the 1980 abdominal surgery to remove his gallbladder, not his July 2021 intestinal surgery.
The gallbladder surgery involved an incision from the upper abdomen to the groin, according to the doctor who performed it. He found a gallbladder stone embedded in a cystic duct, which had caused Pope Francis — then Jesuit provincial superior — to have a gangrenous gallbladder.
This is Pope Francis’ third hospitalization in the past two years.
He was hospitalized for four days in March for a lung infection and had part of his large intestine removed in July 2021 due to diverticulitis.
This story was updated at 10:02 a.m. MDT to correct a statement about Cardinal Mauro Gambetti possibly reading an Angelus message from the pope. The message referred to was a message for an event June 10.