Pope Francis was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday to undergo abdominal surgery to treat an intestinal blockage.
This procedure comes two years after he underwent surgery that led to the removal of 33 centimeters (13 inches) of his colon due to large intestine narrowing.
The Vatican has announced that the Pope, aged 86, will be under general anesthesia for the procedure, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital. He is expected to stay at the hospital for several days for recovery.
Shortly after 11 a.m., the Pope’s Fiat 500, accompanied by an escort, departed the Vatican and arrived at the Gemelli hospital around 20 minutes later.
The Vatican revealed that the Pope’s procedure involves a “laparotomy and abdominal wall plastic surgery with prosthesis.” This surgery is intended to address a “recurrent, painful, and worsening” intestinal constriction.
A laparotomy refers to open abdominal surgery, often employed to both diagnose and treat conditions.
Pope Francis is reportedly dealing with a blocked laparocele, a hernia that developed over a previous scar.
The Vatican’s statement indicated that Pope Francis’ hospital stay would span several days for normal post-operative care and complete functional recovery. It stated that further updates would not be provided until after the operation.
The Pope made an appearance on Wednesday for his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
Despite his unconscious state during the surgery and subsequent hospital stay, Pope Francis remains at the helm of the Vatican and continues to guide the 1.3 billion members of the Catholic Church worldwide.