WVU Medicine to provide free joint replacements in December

West Virginia residents suffering from debilitating hip or knee pain could receive free joint replacement this December at WVU Medicine through Operation Walk USA.

Operation Walk USA takes place each December in an annual tradition of giving back. The program provides all aspects of treatment – surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care – at no cost to participating patients who may not qualify for government health coverage, have insurance, or afford surgery on their own. This year, Operation Walk USA surgeries will be performed on Dec. 6 at WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital.

It 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 in developing countries. To date, more than 700 patients received help through Operation Walk USA. Since inception, Operation Walk USA provided knee and hip replacement surgeries valued at approximately $20 million.

“This is a very important program that has become an annual tradition here at WVU Medicine. It’s a way for us to give patients who would not otherwise be able to receive these joint replacements a new lease on life,” Benjamin Frye, MD, orthopaedic surgeon and director of the Operation Walk USA program at WVU Medicine, said. “We are proud to be a part of this program and are looking forward to providing this life-changing surgery to a new set of patients this year.”

Arthritic disease is the most common cause of disability in the U.S., affecting approximately 46 million Americans, or more than 21 percent of the adult population. The debilitating end stages of hip or knee degenerative disease often makes working or completing even the simplest of daily tasks – lifting a child, getting into the car, running errands, or traveling on business – exceedingly difficult and challenging.

For more information on the criteria for joint replacement through Operation Walk USA, contact Cynthia Drummond, RN, WVU Medicine orthopaedic nurse clinician, at 304-598-6720 or drummondcy@wvumedicine.org.