The Operation Walk team evaluates at least 70 patient's x-rays several months prior to the trip. Decisions are made whether a patient needs one or both joints done. The x-rays are templated (measured) for the prosthesis, so we can be sure to have the proper sizes for each patient. In hip arthritis, the cartilage is worn from the ball, or head, of the femur bone and the socket, or cup, of the acetabulum. The surgeon will resurface the acetabulum with metal and plastic components, then remove the head of the femur and replace it with a metal ball. The surgery takes about 1 and a half hours.
In knee replacement, the end of the bones that come together to make the knee joint (the femur, tibia and patella) are resurfaced. In knee arthritis the cartilage on the ends of these bones is damaged. The surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage and replace the surface with metal and plastic components that provide the patient with a new bearing surface. The surgery takes 1- 1.5 hours.
The surgeons that are selected as volunteers must operate at least 200 joints per year. Operation Walk provides some of the most outstanding surgeons to perform these operations and educational programs from the United States. This assures that the team can achieve the highest quality of surgical care for the greatest number of patients.
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