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Dr. K. Rob Williams Named 40 Under 40 Rising Star

From the Greater Knoxville Business Journal

Dr. Rob Williams is one of the Greater Knoxville Business Journal’s forty young leaders recognized for seizing opportunities to advance careers and community.

Dr. Rob Williams likes to see his patients after their weight-loss surgeries.

“I like nothing better when they say, ‘Oh, Dr. Williams, look at me. Do you recognize me?'” says Williams, a fellowship-trained minimally invasive bariatric surgeon with the New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery.

Williams is one of a handful of surgeons in Tennessee trained to perform a complex laparoscopic weight loss surgery called Biliary Pancreatic Diversion (BPD) with Duodenal Switch (7710_t300Dr.Williams 40 Under40DS).

“That’s one of our niches in the field of bariatric surgery,” he says of the procedure, which is usually reserved for severely obese people. “It leads to greater weight loss and a slightly higher resolution of diabetes.”

Williams, who is also a general surgeon at Parkwest Medical Center, said he was drawn to surgery after a high school football injury caused him to have emergency surgery for a life-threatening infection.

“It was months before I could even run again,” he says. “The fact that I could have died from this really sank in, and for someone to be able to go in and fix it surgically, I thought, was really cool.”

During his medical training, Williams focused on general surgery, but decided to specialize in bariatric surgery after fine-tuning his laparoscopic surgical skills with another bariatric surgeon. “I got a good sense for what impact this had in the lives of obese patients,” he says.

After moving to Knoxville in 2006 to be closer to family, he joined Parkwest Medical Center, where he has been tapped to serve as chief of surgery starting this year, and the practice of Dr. Stephen Boyce at the New Life Center, a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence.

Boyce, who founded the center, says Williams is both a compassionate physician and an excellent technical surgeon.

“The attention to that type of detail in patient care is what’s critical when you have severely ill patients like we do,” he says. “He’s addressing the most important health care concern we have right now in severe obesity. He’s extending patient’s lives and giving them better quality of life, allowing people to return to work who were formerly disabled and unable to work and doing that in a compassionate comprehensive setting.”

Williams says the medical community has started changing the way it views weight-loss surgery because of the role obesity plays in medical issues like high blood pressure and diabetes.

He enjoys seeing patients enjoy life more fully.

“They tend to be very excited and optimistic about the changes that occur in their life after their procedure,” he says. “People are able to get out and do more, and it’s rewarding to see those changes.”

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