Sen. John Kerry returned to Massachusetts General Hospital on Monday for a second hip replacement by the doctor who replaced his right hip in August.
Kerry spokesman David Wade told The Associated Press that Dr. Dennis Burke achieved such good results the first time that Kerry decided to have his left hip replaced. In both cases, the joints had become arthritic and inflexible from age and athletic activity.
The surgery lasted several hours before Kerry was moved to a hospital room. He will remain several days before being discharged and beginning outpatient rehabilitation.
The 66-year-old Kerry decided to have the operation just after the holiday season to ensure "he'd be back on his feet for the legislative period later this month," Wade said.
That could include a vote on a national health care plan that will require support from all 60 Democratic senators _ including Kerry _ to pass the Senate. The senior senator from Massachusetts is also scheduled to welcome a new junior colleague after Jan. 19, when his home state holds a special election to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He died Aug. 25 of brain cancer.
Fellow Democrat Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general, has led in polls over her Republican rival, state Sen. Scott Brown, and an independent candidate, Libertarian Joseph L. Kennedy. He is unrelated to Kennedy's famed political family.
Meanwhile, Kerry serves as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his staff has tried to downplay reports the senator may stage an unofficial diplomatic mission to Iran amid tensions between it and the United States.
Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz, is scheduled to resume breast cancer treatment at Massachusetts General this month. She will be receiving radiation treatment after undergoing a pair of lumpectomies on each breast in October and November.