Pope Benedict XVI had a cast put on his right wrist today following a fall in his vacation chalet in the Alps that left him with a fractured wrist, according to Vatican and hospital officials.
The pope left the hospital after his surgery with his right hand in a cast. He smiled and waved his left hand at journalists as he headed back to his chalet.
The surgeon who operated on the pope, Amedeo Emmanuel Mancini, told reporters in Aosta, Italy, that the operation on the 82-year-old pontiff's wrist went smoothly.
Mancini said the surgery resulted in "an excellent alignment of the fracture" and predicted "a 100 percent recovery."
"It was a routine operation that did not require any incision, but the simple application, through holes, of some wires with which the fracture was reduced," Mancini said to the Italian news agency ANSA.
"The pope will be able to use his right hand perfectly in the future," the surgeon said, including writing and playing the piano.
Mancini quoted on Sky News saying the surgery was "routine, of the kind you do every day. Just the patient was exceptional."
It was carried out with a local anesthetic and he praised Benedict as "an excellent patient, willing, helpful. He had no problem with the local anesthesia, which can be uncomfortable. I told him what I thought the procedure should be, and he agreed."
The accident occurred while Pope Benedict was on vacation in the Alps, according to Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi.
Despite the pain after his fall, the pope said mass as he does every morning and had breakfast before going a hospital in Aosta, Lombardi said.
The spokesman of the Parini public hospital in Aosta, Tiziano Trevisan, told ABC News that the Pope arrived at the hospital at 9:45 a.m. local time in his own car and went to the emergency room where his right wrist was x-rayed and he was given a full check up "which is standard procedure." An x-ray to his right wrist revealed a slight fracture.
An Italian news agency, quoting hospital sources, said the pope asked to be treated like other patients – so he duly waited for his x-ray and for his turn in the operating room.
The procedure took 20 minutes and concluded with a cast on his wrist, said Pope Benedict's personal physician Dr. Patrizio Polisca. The cast will be worn for about a month. The doctor also confirmed that the pope's general condition is good.
Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told ABC News that the consequences of the pope's fall "absolutely do not seem to be anything serious," and that do not pose particular concerns for his health. Lombardi told Italy's ANSA news agency that he believes the pope will continue his vacation.
Pope May Appear in Public on Sunday
Pope Benedict is meant to stay in the mountain chalet in the small town of Les Combes, in the Valle d'Aosta region near the French border until June 29 during which time he has only two scheduled public appearances.
He is slated to lead the Angelus prayer from the nearby town of Romano Canavese this Sunday, and so far no changes in his schedule have been announced.
This is the pope's third summer at Les Combes where he expected to rest and work as he has done on previous vacations. The pontiff usually takes the opportunity to write and work on upcoming papal documents.
There have been no reports of medical problems since Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 and he is not known to have fallen (though he did trip once on-camera leaving a public mass) during that time.
H had a similar fall 17 years ago in similar circumstances. Then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was on vacation in the north-eastern Italian Alps in August 1992 when he fell in the bath and hit his head. He had to have stitches and spent a couple of days in the hospital there.
There have been no reports of medical problems since he has become pope.