Pope Francis has “responded well” following his surgery at Gemelli hospital in Rome to treat symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon.

On Sunday night, he underwent a three-hour operation performed by a 10-person surgical team, including Dr. Sergio Alfieri and his personal physician, Dr. Roberto Bernabei. The left hemicolectomy procedure removed one side of Pope Francis’ colon.

The Vatican later revealed that Pope Francis was “in good condition, alert and breathing on his own” following the surgery in which he was placed under general anesthesia. 

The 84-year-old is expected to stay in hospital for seven days “barring complications,” according to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.

Symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon is a pouch-like protrusion through the muscular layer of the colon, which causes it to become narrow. 

The condition can cause inflammation, pain and lead to difficulty in bowel movement. However, this isn’t the pope’s only health issue.

The religious figure suffers from sciatica, which causes back and leg pain. The condition has resulted in him missing engagements in the past. Prior to that, Pope Francis had his lung removed over 60 years ago following complications from tuberculosis.

While Pope Francis did not publicly discuss plans for his surgery in his weekly blessing on June 27, he did ask for prayers. “Pray in a special way: the pope needs your prayers,” he said at the time.

The surgery marks the first time Pope Francis has been admitted to hospital since 2013, when he was elected as the head of the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis talks openly about his health conditions, physical and psychological Pope Francis talks openly about his health conditions, physical and psychological Photo: AFP / Filippo MONTEFORTE