From East Tennessee Medical News

By Joel “Trey” Bradley, III, MD and Kristopher Williams, MS, MD

eTMNOver the past several years the complexity of patients and difficulty of hernia repair has dramatically increased. We saw this during our fellowships at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. We each spent two years of intense research and care of complex hernia patients. While we were there, we identified a need for specialized complex hernia expertise in East Tennessee, as several of our patients were referred to Carolinas Medical Center from this area. Having family ties to East Tennessee, we were both determined to return to the area and help provide care for these complex patients.

Tonia Brock - Complex Hernia_Nov2014One example of the type of complex cases we are seeing is patient Tonia Brock of Knox County. The 71-year old had been battling a large, multiply recurrent hernia bulge in her abdomen for more than a dozen years. She developed her first hernia several years after having an ileostomy at age 29, which was surgically repaired for the first time in 1998, but because of infection the hernia eventually reoccurred. It was the beginning of a long string of recurrences and subsequent attempted repairs for her. By 2014 she had undergone at least nine hernia operations without a permanent resolution.

In recent years Mrs. Brock’s hernia grew uncomfortably large and had such a negative effect on her quality of life that she seldom left her home. In describing how this hernia was strongly impacting her life, she stated, “It was like my whole stomach was a hernia. It looked like I was carrying a big watermelon around.”

Dr. Bradley and Dr. Williams

We take a comprehensive approach to complex hernia repair, working with patients before surgery to address medical, diet, and lifestyle factors such as infection, diabetes management, obesity and proper nutrition in order to prepare them for a successful, lifelong result. Preoperative preparation is key for patients like Tonia Brock who have had multiple failed hernia repairs and are severely limited in their daily life due to a massive abdominal wall hernia.

We successfully repaired Ms. Brock’s complex abdominal hernia at Fort Sanders Regional this past fall. Her daily quality of life has improved dramatically since undergoing surgery. Although these types of hernia repairs are major abdominal surgeries, the restored abdominal wall functionality and resultant improved mobility often allow patients to return to a completely normal life without limitation following adequate post-operative recovery.

We are excited to offer complex hernia repair to patients in East Tennessee. We are passionate about offering hope and permanent solutions for patients with complex hernias and those that have failed previous surgical repairs.

About Dr. Bradley and Dr. Williams
Joel F. “Trey” Bradley, III, MD and Kristopher Williams, MS, MD are fellowship trained minimally invasive general surgeons, specializing in hernia reapir with Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville. They perform procedures at Fort Sanders Regional and Parkwest Medical Centers.

About Premier Surgical Associates
Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Premier Surgical Associates has 27 surgeons who perform general, vascular, endovascular, vein, bariatric, breast, laparoscopic and oncologic procedures. Premier has offices in Knoxville, Dandridge, Crossville, Lenoir City, and Sevierville. For more information about Premier Surgical Associates, visit