About Us

Operation Walk was started by orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Lawrence Dorr. He wanted to bring qualified surgical teams to countries where access to joint replacement was limited or completely unavailable.  Since he went on his first mission in 1996, multiple chapters have been created.  Each chapter travels to a different country and provides joint replacement surgeries free of charge.  The people who receive these surgeries would have never been able to afford or have access to joint replacement surgery.  The different chapters rely on surgeons, anesthesiologists, PA’s, internal medicine doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and surgical techs to donate their time to go and help make the mission trip possible.  There are now 20 Operation Walk Chapters worldwide.

Operation Walk Idaho

After learning about Operation Walk at a conference in 2014, we first started working in El Salvador in conjunction with Op Walk Utah.  We have been traveling to El Salvador since 2015.  These trips were life changing experiences for us but also for the patients that we were able to help. To create a more sustainable presence in El Salvador, we created a new Op Walk chapter in Idaho to complement the Utah chapter.

As Op Walk Idaho grew our presence in El Salvador, we have established relationships with a local community hospital, primary care providers, and orthopedic surgeons.  They maintain a waiting list of patients who need joint replacement but have no access to this type of surgical care.  In recent years there has been as many as 700 patients on the waiting list.  Upon arrival at the hospital, there will be 60-70 patients waiting to be screened by our teams.  They come with X-rays and basic labs.  We will interview them, review their medical chart, do an exam, and review their x-rays.

Typically patients present with severe osteoarthritis, making the surgeries that we perform in El Salvador more demanding and complicated.  After the screening clinic, the teams review all cases and select suitable patients for joint replacement surgeries. Typically teams are able to do 50-55 joint replacements per trip.

A very unique aspect about doing surgeries on the mission is that surgeons typically operate together. This allows for teaching opportunities, including exposure to different surgical techniques and problem solving. Another important aspect is that we are working with Salvadoran Orthopedic residents while we are there.  They get valuable training and surgical experience that helps them take care of patients after we leave.

We are excited to change peoples’ lives, reduce their pain and suffering and get them back on their feet. Any donation will help! Find out how you can get involved.