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Operation Walk USA to provide free joint replacements with help of local orthopedists
(Nov. 27, 2018, Tifton, Ga.) - From December 3-9, Operation Walk USA will provide free joint replacements for 30 patients across the country from 40 volunteer orthopedic surgeons at 25 hospitals. This includes three patients at Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton with procedures performed by Georgia Sports Medicine orthopedists. Zimmer Biomet will be donating the joint replacement implants.

Dr. David Banks with Georgia Sports Medicine brought the Operation Walk USA program to the attention of Tift Regional Medical Center a couple of years ago.

“While knee or hip surgery may be the answer, many patients may not be able to afford it and feel helpless in knowing where to turn or what possibilities may exist,” said Dr. Banks. “Operation Walk USA helps select patients who need surgery but may be economically-disadvantaged.”

Banks said Operation Walk USA takes place each December as a humanitarian effort and allows for greater hospital, surgeon and medical staff participation. The program provides every element of treatment - surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care - at no cost to patients who may not qualify for government health coverage, have insurance or afford surgery on their own.

“We are glad to be able to participate and help those in need, especially during the holiday season,” said Banks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 23 percent of adults – or 54 million people suffer from arthritis. By 2040 that is expected to climb to 26 percent or 78 million of us. Arthritic disease is the most common cause of disability in the U.S., with the debilitating end stages of hip or knee degenerative disease making any movement or activity exceedingly difficult and near impossible.

“Operation Walk USA is an annual tradition for us and a way for orthopedic surgeons, their staff, medical centers and hospitals to give back to those patients who need it most,” says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Adolph V. Lombardi, Jr., president and co-founder of Operation Walk USA. “The best gift we can give is a new lease on life and to help individuals return to mobility, range of motion and physical activity in all areas of their lives. This is a true collaborative effort and we are indebted to all those who volunteer their services.”

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 in developing countries. To date, nearly 800 patients received help through Operation Walk USA, held in the month of December, annually since 2010. Since its inception, Operation Walk USA has provided knee and hip replacement surgeries valued at more than $20 million.

Device manufacturers DePuy Synthes, DJO, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Total Joint Orthopedics, and Zimmer Biomet are donating the hip and knee implants for the 2018 Operation Walk USA.

A part of Tift Regional Physician Group, Georgia Sports Medicine (GSM) is an orthopedic and sports medicine clinic based in Tifton. The board-certified orthopedists at GSM include Dr. James Scott, Dr. William Smith, Dr. David Banks, Dr. Edward Hellman and Dr. Kyle Fleck.

GSM participates in the Tift Regional Joint Replacement and Spine Care Center program, offering specialized treatment for patients recovering from total joint replacement and spine surgery.

“With a comprehensive educational program, this specialized inpatient unit is specifically dedicated to helping patients overcome pain and restore mobility,” said Dr. Banks. “The goal is to involve patients and family members in treatment every step of the way to ensure optimal recovery.”

Operation Walk USA 2018 facts:

• Operation Walk USA 2018 will be held at 25 hospitals throughout the country, December 3-9.
• An estimated 40 orthopedic surgeons will provide hip and joint replacements, free of charge, to 40 patients nationwide.
• Operation Walk USA 2018 is based on the successful experiences of Operation Walk, which has provided hip and knee replacements to thousands of patients throughout the world since 1996.
• This is the ninth year for Operation Walk USA, which has provided free total joint replacement to nearly 800 patients to date.
• To find a list of participating orthopedic surgeons and cities, visit, or follow Operation Walk USA 2018 on Facebook and Twitter.