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The Right Choice

Posted on September 7, 2017 in General Surgery

Mary Jeffers goes the distance for hernia repair

A series of choices led Mary Jeffers from Kingsport to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville for hernia surgery. She chose to have a double mastectomy at a Kingsport hospital after testing positive for the RAD50 gene that’s linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, and then chose a type of reconstructive surgery that unfortunately made her more susceptible to painful hernias.

“Mary had rectus flap reconstruction, and that surgery resulted in a hernia because they had to take muscle to reconstruct the breast, leaving the abdominal wall weaker,” says Fort Sanders Regional general surgeon Joel “Trey” Bradley III, MD, who specializes in complex hernias.

“I had a bulge, and I wore an abdominal binder to keep everything tight where they’d removed the belly fat,” Jeffers says. But even while wearing the binder she was in pain, and there were times when the only way to find relief was to lie down, sometimes even placing her hand on the bulge and pushing it back into her abdomen. Her case was so complicated that Jeffers chose to make an appointment with Dr. Bradley in Knoxville.

In September 2016, Jeffers had double incisional hernia repair above her belly button, performed by Dr. Bradley and his colleague, Parkwest Medical Center general surgeon Kris Williams, MD. “Two of her muscle groups were missing,” Dr. Bradley says, “so the trick was repairing hernias based on the muscle groups that were still there.”

The complex surgical procedure was a success in every way. “Fort Sanders Regional was amazing,” Jeffers says. “Dr. Bradley came every morning and he came every evening.” An anesthesiologist came at least twice a day too, and Jeffers says the nurses were some of the most knowledgeable she’s ever met over the course of her multiple medical procedures.

Best of all are the results. “I have not had to wear the binder since the surgery and I can do whatever I want – I can go out to eat and it doesn’t bother me, I can lay on my stomach and it doesn’t bother me – it’s awesome.” Jeffers highly recommends Dr. Bradley and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. “It was a really good experience, and Dr. Bradley is amazing,” she says. “He is someone who takes time to listen and explain things – and not in the big medical terms that I don’t understand!”

Jeffers says she would gladly choose to place her care in the hands of Dr. Bradley and Fort Sanders Regional again.

To learn more about surgical procedures at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, visit www.fsregional.com/surgery, or call (865) 331-1111.