http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2013/01/18/valleycare-joins-in-operation-walk


Pleasanton Weekly

News - January 18, 2013

ValleyCare joins in 'Operation Walk'

Surgeon provides free hip, knee replacements

by Jeb Bing

Dr. Aaron Salypongse, an orthopaedic surgeon at ValleyCare Medical Center in Pleasanton, performed free hip and knee replacement surgeries last month for two patients as part of Operation Walk USA 2012.

ValleyCare was one of only four hospitals in California participating.

"Joint pain can severely affect the daily lives of many individuals, even making walking very difficult" said Salyapongse. "Operation Walk USA 2012 gives us the opportunity to get these folks moving and productive again, and I'm sure will be a rewarding experience for all of us involved."

While more than 1 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 2012 provided all aspects of treatment -- surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care -- at no cost to participating patients.

Through Operation Walk USA 2012, 109 orthopaedic surgeons across the U.S. provided free hip or knee replacements to more than 200 individuals in 29 states in early December.

"We are pleased to be participating in this humanitarian endeavor," says Marcy Feit, CEO of ValleyCare Health System. "With so many people struggling just to make ends meet, being able to provide this surgery is an opportunity for us to help the uninsured, who are in real pain, get the treatment they need."

Arthritic disease is the most common cause of disability in the U.S., affecting approximately 48 million Americans, or more than 21 percent 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 USA began in 2011 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, more than 6,000 patients have received new knees and hips through the International Operation Walk.

The mission of Operation Walk USA, a nonprofit organization, is to encourage and enable joint replacement surgeons to provide mobility and quality of life of uninsured patients in the U.S. suffering from disability of the hip or knee. They target U.S. citizens and permanent residents who do not qualify for government assistance programs.

Operation Walk USA 2012 is a collaborative effort between three orthopaedic organizations and 49 participating hospitals.

Device manufacturers Biomet, DePuy, MAKO Surgical, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Total Joint Orthopedics (TJO), Inc. and Zimmer donated the hip and knee implants. Ortech Data Inc. is providing a complimentary data system for OpWalkUSA patients. Ortech will provide this data to the national arthroplasty registry, the American Joint Replacement Registry.

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