Operation Walk USA 2011 Provides Free Orthopaedic Care Dec. 2 and 3

Nov 29, 2011, 15:02 ET from American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

New hips and knees to more than 85 patients who need them

ROSEMONT, Ill., Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Millions of Americans suffer from painful joint problems and may end up one day needing a joint replacement.  Each year, more than 900,000 hip and knee replacements are performed in the U.S., but that statistic does not shed light on how many people go without the surgery because they might not have the financial capacity to afford the procedure.

Building on the global success of Operation Walk, an international effort that has improved the lives and mobility of more than 6,000 patients in developing countries, 58 orthopaedic surgeons will provide free hip and knee replacement surgery to more than 85 patients at 25 hospitals, in 16 different states, over a two-day span this December for Operation Walk USA 2011.

All aspects of treatment – surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care – are provided at no cost to the patients. Operation Walk USA 2011 is a collaborative effort between three orthopaedic organizations:  The Hip Society, The Knee Society, and the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS).

"Rising health care costs and economic workforce issues in the United States can make it a struggle for some people to access medical care," said orthopaedic surgeon Adolph Lombardi, MD, and president of The Hip Society.   

"The goal of Operation Walk USA 2011 is to help these patients who are in pain, but are out of options for care," Dr. Lombardi added.  "Joint pain interferes with their daily lives.  Some can't play with their kids, walk in the park, or even perform at work.  Operation Walk USA 2011 gives us an opportunity to get those people moving and mobile again.  I know it will be an incredibly rewarding experience for all involved." 

Dr. Lombardi will perform surgeries at Mount Carmel New Albany Surgical Hospital in New Albany, Ohio.

Operation Walk began in 1994 in Moscow when Lawrence D. Dorr, MD, a California orthopaedic surgeon, was there teaching total hip and knee replacement surgery to Russian physicians.

"I saw then that many patients in developing countries were suffering from arthritis in their hips and knees and could not afford the proper implants and medical care," said Dr. Dorr, who founded Operation Walk, the volunteer medical service organization that trains doctors and provides treatment for patients with arthritis and joint conditions throughout the world. 

Last year, orthopaedic surgeons in nine cities participated in the first-ever Operation Walk USA 2011. This year, the number of cities has more than doubled. "This participation increase is really a testament to what a rewarding program this is, and what it does for everyone involved," Dr. Dorr added. 

Dr. Dorr and his colleagues, William Long, MD, and Paul Gilbert, MD, will provide hip or knee replacements to seven patients at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, Calif., on Friday, December 2, 2011.

"Operation Walk USA 2011 is providing an early holiday gift to these individuals and their families. It will certainly be a new year for them," said Dr. Dorr.

Device manufacturers Biomet, DePuy, Smith & Nephew, Stryker and Zimmer, and Wright Medical Technology donated the hip and knee implants. Nike will provide a new pair of shoes for each patient.    

Operation Walk USA 2011 is taking place in big cities and small towns across the U.S. including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.  For more information about total joint replacement, visit orthoinfo.org.

About Operation Walk USA 2011:

  • Operation Walk USA 2011 is based on the successful experiences of Operation Walk, which has provided hip and knee replacements to thousands of patients throughout the world since 1996. 
  • Operation Walk USA 2011 is sponsored jointly by The Hip Society, The Knee Society and the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) because orthopaedic surgeons are committed to restoring mobility and improving quality of life for all people.
  • To find a list of participating orthopaedic surgeons and cities, visit www.opwalkusa.com, or follow Operation Walk USA 2011 on Facebook.

About The Hip Society
About The Knee Society

SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons