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Established in 2011, Operation Walk USA is a growing organization of volunteer orthopaedic surgeons who provide pro bono hip and knee replacement surgeries to U.S. patients in need. During this year’s event, which runs Dec. 2–7, more than 120 orthopaedic surgeons in 34 states will provide free joint replacement surgeries to 230 patients.

AAOS Now

Published 12/1/2013
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Maureen Leahy

Operation Walk USA 2013 Expands its Reach

Total hip and knee replacement surgeries have improved the lives and mobility of millions of patients afflicted with disabling arthritis and other debilitating bone and joint conditions. Unfortunately, relief remains elusive for many underserved Americans. Now in its third year, Operation Walk USA will again make a difference in the lives of patients who otherwise could not afford such care.

“We have expanded the official dates of Operation Walk USA from one weekend to the entire first week of December to enable more surgeons and hospitals to participate, and as a result, to help more patients in need,” said Adolph V. Lombardi Jr, MD, president of Operation Walk USA. “It is gratifying to see how Operation Walk USA is gaining momentum and growing with every annual cycle. I am tremendously proud of the adult reconstruction community and the many other healthcare professionals involved in this cause.”

Giving back
Operation Walk USA is an annual opportunity for orthopaedic surgeons to give back to their communities. Each local project is led by a physician champion, and each participating center makes its own patient selections based on the guidelines developed by the organization. All aspects of treatment, including the surgery, hospitalization, and pre- and postoperative care, are provided at no cost to participating patients.

“Through the generosity of our local hospital and medical colleagues, we have been able to provide these services to citizens that live within our immediate community,” said Scott M. Sporer, MD, of Wheaton, Ill. “It’s extremely rewarding to see patients regain their independence and once again become contributing members of society. Operation Walk USA reaffirms the oath I took when becoming a physician: ‘I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings.’”

For Douglas A. Dennis, MD, Denver, who has participated in international medical missions for more than 10 years, Operation Walk USA is an opportunity to “help our own. Helping Americans who have long suffered with disabling arthritis is a most fulfilling way to give back,” he said.

“No patient is more appreciative than a hardworking individual whose employer does not provide insurance and whose debilitating joint pain threatens his or her livelihood,” added Adam E. Klein, MD, of Morgantown, W. Va. “I have never felt more valued as a physician as when I could offer what I do pro bono to someone who so desperately needs it and who does not have the means to pay.”

The implants for Operation Walk USA 2013 were donated by the following device manufacturers: Biomet, DePuy Synthes, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, TJO, and Zimmer. Quill will provide sutures. Many participating orthopaedic surgeons also have generously donated to the organization.

For more information on Operation Walk USA, including a list of participating orthopaedic surgeons and hospitals and information on how to become a physician champion or a participating hospital for the 2014 event, visit www.opwalkusa.com

Maureen Leahy is assistant managing editor of AAOS Now. She can be reached at leahy@aaos.org