Shopper News – Parkwest Health & Lifestyles

Complex hernia repair patient Marilyn Johnson

Complex hernia repair patient Marilyn Johnson

For a few years, Marilyn Johnson had a hernia sitting next to her belly button. At first, it didn’t hurt, and her family doctor kept an eye on it. She continued to participate in choir at her church and travel on mission trips.

However, when the hernia began to interfere with her daily activities, the Tellico Village resident was told it would need to be repaired. She was referred to Kris Williams, MD, a surgeon at Premier Surgical’s Parkwest office.

“The large hernia defect allowed a significant portion of the organs in her abdomen to be pushed outside the abdominal wall,” Dr. Williams said.

Abdominal hernias like Johnson’s can occur for a wide number of reasons, including past surgeries, trauma, weak muscles and increased pressure. Hernias are potential areas where organs and tissues can protrude outside of the abdomen like Johnson’s. Usually, complex hernia repairs must be completed at medical facilities in bigger cities than Knoxville, but because Williams had trained in complex hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., Johnson was able to stay close to home.

“It was very fortunate not to have to go somewhere else to have surgery done,” Johnson said. “Since it was a complex process, it was comforting to know Dr. Williams had completed a fellowship with some of the best physicians in the country.”
Dr. Kris Williams, MD

Williams was joined by Premier Surgical at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center surgeon Joel “Trey” Bradley, MD, to perform the hernia repair.
Bradley also trained at Carolinas. As a team, they are comfortable with the procedure and working with one another. “Dr. Williams and Dr. Bradley don’t have to explain things to each other,” Johnson explained. “It cuts down on the time spent completing the repair and means my risk for having a second surgery is lessened.”

To repair the hernia and reinforce the strength of the abdominal wall, Williams inserted a piece of synthetic mesh into her abdomen. The mesh supports the soft tissues of the abdominal wall, strengthens the hernia repair and significantly reduces the rate of recurrence. Once the repair
is complete, the abdominal organs remain where they should. The abdominal wall is also reconstructed for better functionality.

“The reinforcement of the entire abdominal wall helps prevent hernia defects in the future,” Williams said. “It covers spaces that may form hernias down the line and means that the hernia will probably not have to be repaired again.”

“People usually have problems with hernia repeats,” Johnson said. “The mesh keeps everything in place, so there’s much less of a chance I’ll have to worry about that.”

After Johnson’s hernia surgery, she stayed at Parkwest for five days recovering and resting. Her husband stayed with her in her room. Upon returning home, Johnson continued to rest and was limited in her ability to lift.

“It’s a major surgery,” Williams said. “We want to prepare patients during pre-op so they know what to expect.”

Also, Williams explained, researching your surgeon is essential before having a complex hernia repaired. “Find out if he or she has specialized training in this type of repair. Are they adequately experienced?” he said. “They should be, because every hernia repair that fails makes the next hernia repair that much more difficult.”

For more information about complex hernia surgery visit