Christiana Care Health System’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery provided free knee and hip replacements to three people in November and December as part of Operation Walk USA 2015.

Operation Walk USA 2015 is a collaborative effort between the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and participating 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.

As part of Operation Walk USA 2015, an estimated 80 patients nationwide will receive free hip or knee replacements from 55 volunteer orthopaedic surgeons across the nation.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to provide expert care so our neighbors can experience more active and productive lives,” said Andrew Gelman, D.O., local physician leader for Operation Walk USA. “By alleviating the disabling arthritis in their knees and hips, we give our patients the gift of mobility so they can return to employment and enjoyment of life.”

As part of Operation Walk USA 2015, Drew Brady, M.D., Steven Dellose, M.D., and James Rubano, M.D., orthopaedic surgeons at Christiana Care, will perform the surgeries at Christiana Care’s Center for Advanced Joint Replacement, which is among the most advanced, comprehensive programs for hip and knee replacement in the country. The center performs more than 2,600 total hip and knee replacements annually, using the latest minimally invasive techniques, with clinical outcomes that are among the best in the nation. Annually, Christiana Care performs about 100 orthopaedic surgeries for patients who cannot afford orthopaedic surgery on their own.

Patients seen through Operation Walk suffer from arthritic disease, which limits the abilities of 52.5 million Americans and is the most common cause of disability in the United States, according to the U.S. 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 among the most cost-effective and successful of all orthopaedic procedures.

Operation Walk USA began in 2010 following the tremendous 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, nearly 600 patients have received free total joint replacements through Operation Walk USA.