Christiana Care’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery provided free knee replacements to two local patients in December as part of Operation Walk USA 2013.
Operation Walk USA 2013 is a collaborative effort between three orthopaedic organizations and 70 participating U.S. hospitals and health systems, including Christiana Care. Through this effort, all aspects of treatment — surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care — are provided at no cost to participating patients who cannot afford joint-replacement surgery on their own.
Andrew Gelman, D.O., the local physician leader for Operation Walk, was joined by Leo Raisis, M.D., medical director of Christiana Care’s Center for Advanced Joint Replacement, and Alex Bodenstab, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon at Christiana Care. Christiana Care orthopaedic surgeons also staff the Wilmington Orthopaedic Clinic where people with limited financial means have access to needed procedures. Annually, more than 100 operations are performed through the Wilmington Orthopaedic Clinic.
Many of the patients seen through Operation Walk suffer from arthritic disease, which limits the abilities of 21 million Americans and is the most common cause of disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The debilitating pain of end-stage hip or knee degenerative disease often makes working or completing even the simplest of daily tasks excruciatingly painful or impossible. Hip and knee replacement surgeries are the most cost-effective and successful of all orthopaedic procedures.
“Through this effort, we improve the quality of life for these individuals so they can experience more active and productive lives,” Dr. Gelman said. “Alleviating the disabling arthritis helps our patients return to employment and enjoyment of life.”
Operation Walk USA began in 2011 following the success of Operation Walk, an international volunteer medical service organization that provides treatment for patients with arthritis and joint conditions throughout the world. To date, more than 6,000 patients have received new knees and hips through the International Operation Walk, including nearly 300 patients through Operation Walk USA in 2011 and 2012.
Device manufacturers Biomet, Depuy Synthes, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Total Joint Orthopedics and Zimmer donate the hip and knee implants for Operation Walk 2013. Quill Medical Inc. is donating sutures, and Ortech Data Inc. manages the electronic medical record of the patients. Ortech Data transfers Operation Walk USA 2013 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant data to The American Joint Replacement Registry, a national center for data collection and research on total hip and knee replacements.