Peripheral artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and blockages in the arteries and veins are just some of the conditions our vascular surgeons treat at Premier Surgical Associates of Knoxville. We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Stephen Tonks to our vascular surgery team. Let’s get to know him more.
Growing up in rural Alabama, Stephen Tonks always knew he wanted to go into medicine. “From when I was very little, I always thought I would become a doctor. It was just a natural fit.” Dr. Tonks graduated with highest honors from Auburn University and went on to medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. He spent seven years in Knoxville, completing his surgical residency and vascular surgery fellowship at the University of Tennessee.
Dr. Tonks was drawn to vascular surgery because of the wide range of procedures, techniques, and different parts of the body that vascular surgeons treat.
“We treat everything from below the brain to the tips of the toes – basically all of the vascular system except the brain and the heart.”
The scope of the surgeries also varies greatly.
“Vascular surgeons do the largest variety of surgeries anyone could do on the body,” Dr. Tonks explains. “From endovascular procedures performed with only a tiny needle access site, to the largest, open surgeries.”
Dr. Tonks also enjoys getting to know his vascular patients and forming long-term relationships with them.
“Vascular disease is a condition you manage long-term. You may follow many of your patients for life,” he says. “It’s not like most surgeries where the person only has one gallbladder to remove. Vascular disease involves ongoing education and management.”
As the field of vascular surgery has become increasingly advanced, Dr. Tonks says patients have more options than ever.
“We have a lot of minimally invasive techniques now that don’t require you to go to a hospital, and you can be back at work the next day.”
On a personal level, Dr. Tonks is excited that he and his family are back in Knoxville.
“I trained in Knoxville, got married here and had both children here,” he says. “It’s a great college town and we love the outdoors and friendly people.”
When he’s not treating vascular patients, Dr. Tonks enjoys woodworking, spending time with family, and his chocolate lab, Pippa.
Dr. Stephen Tonks operates at Fort Sanders Regional, Parkwest Medical Center and the Premier Surgical Vascular Center in Knoxville. He also offers a vascular satellite clinic in Oak Ridge. To request an appointment with Dr. Tonks, please call (865) 588-8229.