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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

Welcome back, Al!

Al Roker returned to TODAY Monday, just 12 days after undergoing total hip replacement surgery on Sept. 18 at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Al, 65, whose struggles with pain from osteoarthritis prompted the procedure, was up on his feet and walking with the help of a physical therapist only three hours after the surgery.

"I had no pain,'' he said. "All the pain that had been there from the hip, gone."

NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres said that Al being back on his feet so quickly is common for that procedure.

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"That's very normal,'' he said. "A lot of people don't realize it. You get up that same day. They want you walking because they found out of it you don't do that, it's going to take a lot longer to recover."

The one-hour surgery on his left hip was performed by Dr. David Mayman, an orthopedic surgeon who also performed knee replacement surgery on Al three years ago.

Al used a cane in his return to TODAY, which is common for patients for about two weeks after the surgery, according to Mayman.

His decision to undergo the procedure came after the pain in his hip ramped up dramatically.

"This happened within like within three months,'' Al said. "All of a sudden I went from a little twinge to like excruciating pain."

The TODAY weatherman was back home just two days after the surgery, just in time for his wife's 59th birthday. While he still has some soreness from the incision, the pain in his hip is gone.

He is one of the more than 370,000 Americans who undergo hip replacement surgery every year.

"I think (that number) is for a few reasons,'' Torres said. "One, we're living longer than we used to live and we're much more active. We're living longer, and we're also a heavier nation, and that's part of the issue as well. And so that's wearing out the hip joints and the knee joints."

Torres also noted that the procedure was usually done mainly on people in their 70s and 80s, but he sees it regularly in people in their 40s and 50s because of how much more active people are now.

Al has been undergoing physical therapy sessions via Skype and now will start them in person with a therapist.

He hopes to back to one of his favorite activities — riding his bike — as soon as possible.

"People like you, once they get it, they say, you know, I wish I'd done this a little earlier because I'm so free of pain right now it's fantastic,'' Torres told Al.