WILMINGTON, Del., Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Christiana Care Health System's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, in collaboration with Operation Walk USA 2012, will provide free hip and knee replacements to two local patients on Thursday, Dec. 6th. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090407/DC95299LOGO) Operation Walk USA 2012 is a collaborative effort between three orthopaedic organizations and 49 participating hospitals and health systems, including Christiana Care. Through this effort, all aspects of treatment – surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care – will be provided at no cost to participating patients who cannot afford joint replacement surgery on their own. Annually, Christiana Care performs about 100 types of orthopaedic surgeries to uninsured patients free of charge, the cost of which would run more than $750,000. All of Christiana Care's orthopaedic surgeons participate in this free service. Thursday's surgeries will be performed by orthopaedic surgeons with Christiana Care. Andrew Gelman, D.O., the local physician leader for Operation Walk, will be joined by Leo Raisis, M.D., medical director of Christiana Care's Center for Advanced Joint Replacement, and James Rubano, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon at Christiana Care. Many of the patients seen through Operation Walk suffer from arthritic disease, which limits the abilities of 21 million Americans and is the most common cause of disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 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. "Our mission through this effort is to improve the quality of life for these individuals so they can experience more active and productive lives," Dr. Gelman said. "Alleviating the disabling arthritis will help them to return to employment and enjoyment of life."