REUTERS - Pope Benedict underwent minor surgery on Friday
after the 82-year-old Roman Catholic leader slipped in the bath
and broke his wrist while on holiday in northern Italy.
The Vatican said the operation, the first time the pope had
to be treated in hospital since his election in 2005, lasted 20
minutes under local anaesthesia and that the pope would have to
wear a cast for about a month.
It was not immediately clear if there would be lasting
damage that might affect the pope's ability to play the piano.
He is an accomplished pianist and usually relaxes in the evening
Patrizio Polisca, the pope's personal doctor, stressed that
the injury was caused by an accidental fall and that the pope
was not feeling ill when he fell.
He said pope had undergone osteosynthesis, a surgical
procedure to stabilise and join the ends of fractured bones by
mechanical devices such as metal plates, pins, rods, wires or
Polisca told reporters in the hospital in this northwestern
Italian city he expected it would take about a month to heal but
that the pope's vacation in the northern mountains near the
border with France would continue as planned.
"The Holy Father's overall condition is good," the doctor
said, adding that the pope would return to his mountain
residence later in the day.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters
earlier that the pope had slipped in his bath whereas Polisca's
statement referred only to a fall "in his residence".
The German-born pontiff walked into hospital himself and the
Vatican said that before being taken to hospital he celebrated
mass and had breakfast in the mountain chalet.
Tourists and visitors at the Vatican expressed concern about
the pope's health.
"Thank God it is nothing serious," Canadian Joey Shreider
"I'm very sorry to hear the Holy Father is injured, we'll be
praying for him that he makes a quick and speedy full recovery,"
said Irish archbishop Dermot Clifford, visiting the Holy See.