Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 6, 2013

ValleyCare part of free hip, knee replacement program

Operation Walk USA helps needy get back on their feet

by Jeb Bing

ValleyCare Health System will participate in Operation Walk USA today (Dec. 6), an event hosted by an independent medical charitable organization that provides all aspects of knee and hip replacement treatment, surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care at no cost to patients who may not qualify for government assistance, lack insurance or can't afford surgery on their own.

As part of the program, orthopaedic surgeons Dr. Aaron Salyapongse and Dr. Robert Sproul will provide free hip replacements at ValleyCare Medical Center to two patients from the local area.

"This is the second year ValleyCare has participated in this nationwide effort by Operation Walk USA." said Cindy Noonan, ValleyCare's Chief Operating Officer. "Drs. Salyapongse and Sproul are excellent surgeons and we are pleased to be able to help people in our local area get back on their feet and back to an active life."

While more than one million hip and knee replacements are performed in the U.S. each year, countless men and women continue to live with severe arthritic pain and immobility because they cannot afford joint replacement surgery.

Operation Walk USA is a volunteer effort on behalf of more than 120 volunteer orthopaedic surgeons and 70 participating hospitals in 32 states.

With the start of the holiday month, this was also a timely way for orthopaedic surgeons to give back to patients and help improve their quality of life and mobility.

An estimated 120 orthopaedic surgeons will treat more than 230 patients, and that is twice the number of patients and orthopaedic surgeons in Operation Walk USA in 2011, the first year of the program.

Arthritic disease is the most common cause of disability in the U.S., affecting approximately 48 million Americans, or more than 21% of the adult population. 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 orthopedic procedures, eliminating pain and allowing patients to resume active, productive lives.

Operation Walk is 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 program.

Medical anesthesia consultants and ValleyCare's Dr. John Yee will be donating their time to this year's Operation Walk 2013. Other contributors include:

* Device manufacturers Biomet, DePuy, Smith & Nephew, Stryker.

* Total Joint Orthopedics (TJO), Inc. and Zimmer are donating the hip and knee implants.

* Quill Medical, Inc., is providing sutures.

* Electronic medical record firm Ortech Data, Inc. will transfer 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.

ValleyCare Health System has earned the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for its Joint Replacement Programs for Hips and Knees.

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