How Dr. Williams Became a Peripheral Nerve Surgeon

My father was a pediatric cardiac surgeon, my mother was a nurse, and essentially, I grew up in a medical family. I myself and my twin brother, Dr. Chris Williams, were drawn into that, seeing the incredible things that my parents were able to do. But as far as I can remember, I've always wanted to go into surgery. I was captured by plastic surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery early on, mainly because of the cool pictures that you could see of people before and after, military people who had tremendous wounds, Battle Scars, blast injuries, who had been reconstructed over the years by some of the early fathers of plastic surgery and how they were able to literally rebuild parts of people that they didn't have anymore.

I completed two years of plastic surgery training at the University of Alabama with Louis Vaskines and his team. I really came to the conclusion that I wanted to have an area where I was really good at, an area that I could really focus on, really study, and really become sort of an expert, at least in that particular field.

It happened to be that he lived in Baltimore, Maryland. I had done my medical school in Baltimore, Maryland. My twin brother, Chris Williams, was actually a resident in Baltimore, Maryland, at a time at Johns Hopkins. I met my wife in Baltimore, Maryland. I called and inquired about the fellowship that Dr. Lee Dellen invited me down to Baltimore to meet him and to see what he does.

I was totally shocked that I walked into this place and saw an entire branch of plastic reconstructive surgery that I had had very little, if hardly any, exposure to. Patients who'd been all over the country looking for answers to problems for foot pain, hand pain, breast pain, knee pain, abdominal wall pain, and headaches. And we had never once talked about these problems, except maybe how do you repair a laceration of your finger? When I went home from that interview, my mind was blown. I went back in that very week, I was working at the VA, the Birmingham VA, and I had a gentleman walk in my door who had a toe amputation and that gentleman had horrific pain in his foot. I immediately emailed Lee Dellen about this person, I sent photographs and drawings, and I spent hours with that patient. Dr. Dellen at the time spent a long time responding back and forth to my emails, sending me suggestions and recommendations and thoughts and ideas. And I brought that patient back several times, did some nerve blocks for him, and was able to actually work through that to get that patient significantly better. And that literally was the start of my peripheral nerve surgery career, was the VA Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, with the veteran who had a big toe amputation that just blew my mind. It was literally the hook, line, and sinker. I'm going to Baltimore, I'm going to spend a year with Lee Dellen doing nothing but peripheral nerve surgery.