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Pope Francis surgery completed "without complications," pontiff working from hospital during recovery

Pope Francis recovering from surgery
Pope Francis recovering after successful surgery 03:00

Rome — The Vatican said Thursday morning that Pope Francis was in good shape a day after his second abdominal surgery in just two years was completed "without complications." The 86-year-old pope was taken to Rome's Gemelli Hospital for the procedure right after his regular weekly Wednesday audience, and he was expected to remain hospitalized for at least several days as he recovers.

The pontiff's medical team said Thursday that he was in good general condition, alert and breathing without assistance after they operated to treat a painful abdominal hernia, removing scar tissue and implanting a prosthetic mesh. 

It's an area where Francis has had multiple surgeries over the years, most recently in 2021 when doctors removed 13 inches of his large intestine. Francis was hospitalized for 10 days after that procedure. This time, his doctor said the procedure typically required a hospital stay of five to seven days.

The surgeon cautioned, however, that Francis has been through a lot: This was his fourth surgery, and it came after the pope suffered a lung infection that also landed him in the hospital this spring.

All of the pope's formal audiences through June 18 were cancelled to give him time to recover, but Francis appeared to be wasting no time: His doctor said he went straight back to work in his hospital bed after the procedure.

It's widely suspected that Francis' medical team decided to operate this week so the pope will be healthy again in time for an upcoming trip to Portugal, and then to Mongolia later in the summer.

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When the pope was released from the same hospital after his lung infection in the spring, he quipped: "I'm still alive."

The health problems have fueled recurring rumors that Francis, more than a decade into his papacy, could decide to resign, as did his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict.

CBS News Vatican consultant Father Anthony Figuereido said earlier this year, however, that Francis had "certainly made it clear - unless he's impeded from being a pope, maybe through some minor difficulty, some illness of the mind, he will continue to be that pope."

Earlier this year, Francis became the first pontiff in modern history to preside over the funeral of his predecessor.

Francis lauded the late Pope Benedict's "brave" decision to retire at the age of 85.

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