Why did you choose orthopaedics?
There is value in treating orthopaedic conditions with surgery. In orthopaedics we tighten things that are loose, loosen things that are tight, and fix things that are broken. This also applies to hand surgery. The intricate structures of the hand, wrist, and elbow require a challenging approach, both surgically and mentally, and I thrive on this challenge! Most surgeries can be accomplished as an outpatient or as an office procedure, so there is little lingering around the hospital.
Do you have a procedure that you consider a favorite?
Wrist and elbow arthroscopy. We can see things magnified and can often correct things that are wrong. The procedure is minimally invasive, and patients usually recover easily.
What makes you feel successful as a physician?
Success as a physician comes from patients' appreciation and recognition by professionals. Each patient has a different personal story to tell. I see most surgical patients enough to develop an individual relationship. It sets us apart from many other specialties!
What is the most complicated or memorable case you've handled?
The most complicated case involved a four-finger replantation at UAB. The most memorable patient was a professional football coach who had bursitis which we (a team of professionals) were able to eradicate. His gratitude was immeasurable. Another memorable situation was a patient with a wrist non-union. He had seen two prior hand surgery professors, both of whom had told him that "nothing could be done". His and his family's recognition was rewarding. It has continued to be source of referrals of many delightful patients.
Why did you choose Southlake Orthopaedics to establish your practice?
I was looking for a private practice venue after completing ten years of a fulfilling academic practice as a hand surgeon at UAB. Southlake Orthopaedics had the most solid reputation in town and had the most consistent professional history. Their track record and stability had been unsurpassed in the greater Birmingham area.
Ekkehard Bonatz, M.D., was born in Wernigerode, Germany. Dr. Bonatz graduated from the Hannover Medical School with a Medical Degree. He completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Bonatz completed his fellowship in Hand and Microsurgery at UAB. Dr. Bonatz then volunteered for the U.S. Army as an officer in the Medical Corps at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he was acting Chief of Hand Surgery. He then joined the faculty at the University of Alabama Department of Surgery in Birmingham in the Hand and Microsurgery Program, eventually becoming an Associate Professor, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery. Subsequently Dr. Bonatz entered private practice at Southlake Orthopaedics Sports Medicine and Spine Center. His practice is geared primarily to elbow, wrist, and hand problems.
Training & Education:
Medical School: Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany.
Surgical Internship: Baptist Medical Center Hospitals, Birmingham, Alabama.
Orthopaedic Surgery Residency: University of Alabama Medical Center, Birmingham, Alabama.
Military: Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas
Certifications & Associations:
American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery/Hand Surgery Certificate
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, American Association of Hand Surgeons, American Society for Reconstructive Surgery, International College of Surgeons, Alabama Orthopaedic Society
Medplex Outpatient Surgery Center, Brookwood Medical Center, Birmingham Surgery Center, HealthSouth Outpatient Care Center, Children's Health System, Grandview Medical Center