Close this search box.



I have worked in the health care profession for 33 years and worked alongside many physicians; I can honestly say that Dr. Heck is a compassionate doctor who truly cares for his patients. I have severely progressive and degenerative scoliosis (idiopathic) and my Internal Medicine physician, Dr. Wilhelm referred me to Dr. Heck.

Five years ago I had my first surgery for the condition from another institution in the Birmingham area and the technique for my surgery was done using the traditional posterior approach. My recovery was extremely long and painful. Dr. Heck uses an anterior approach that did not involve any muscle dissection, which made my recovery much easier. I went home in less than 24 hours and began my rehabilitation 6 weeks post-op from surgery. It went great!

As a hobby I tap dance. I was able to begin dancing within 2 months of my surgery. Dr. Heck uses the most cutting-edge techniques available and offers a very thorough explanation of diagnosis, procedure and treatment plan. I would HIGHLY recommend him to anyone with spinal issues!


I had been struggling with severe pain in my hip area and lower back and contacted Southlake Orthopaedics to make an appointment to see Dr. Michael Blum. At my visit, Dr. Blum immediately recognized my pain was stemming from my lower back and referred me to his colleague, Dr. Chris Heck- who specializes in treating back/spine conditions.

Dr. Heck was very thorough during my examination. He went in depth explaining I probably would not benefit from additional pain blocks. He explained and answered all of my questions concerning the procedure and helped me make the final decision, that surgery was necessary to relieve my pain.

I rated my pain level before surgery at a “10” and my mobility was limited to a walker. After my surgery procedure, I continued to experience some discomfort; each day I saw a gradual improvement. Seven weeks post-surgery, I am completely pain-free and back to doing what I enjoy the most-fishing and taking care of normal activities around my home such as mowing the lawn without discomfort.

Many thanks to Dr. Heck and his staff for the excellent work on my seventy years old back. Let’s go fishing!


I had been dealing with a chronic ankle injury I incurred by all things, a sweet gum ball! Being a very active and busy retired individual, one afternoon I was showing family members my pray garden in the
backyard when I tripped and fell, breaking my left ankle. This was four and half years ago, post two previous surgeries. My local orthopaedic doctor recommended Dr. Kirchner.

Dr. Kirchner shared with me during my visit; I was a strong candidate for a new type of anklereplacement-the Total Talus procedure. This surgical procedure is different from past ankle replacement procedures in that it allows up and down and side to side movement of the ankle. Dr. Kirchner was very thorough in providing details for the total talus procedure and what to expect with myrehabilitation process. First six weeks post the surgery, Dr. Kirchner and staff ordered a motorize scooter I used for getting around, now eight weeks post surgery I am able to wear a shoe and continuing to work on my rehab process through home exercises.

I am doing very well and am so pleased with my progress! In my opinion, Dr. Kirchner has given me an opportunity to continue the normal activities I enjoy most-exercising, spending time with my friends and taking care of my 100 year old Mom who lives with me. I highly recommend Dr. Kirchner and Southlake Orthopaedics if you are dealing with any type of chronic ankle issue.


Chief PilotUnit Commander, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Aviation

I have known Dr. Michael Blum since he repaired a Tibia/Fibula fracture over 20 years ago. When I got bucked off a horse this past September and broke both of my arms, Dr. Blum was my first phone call. He quickly put things into motion, contacting his colleagues, Dr. Michael Smith and Dr.Ekkehard Bonatz, to get me into their surgical schedules. For my procedure, Dr. Smith and Dr. Bonatz tag-teamed with Dr. Smith performing surgery on my right arm and Dr. Bonatz on my left. The surgery would have taken twice as long (it took a little over 4 hours) if Southlake Orthopaedics had not had two of the best hand surgeons. Working in concert they repaired two very complex fractures requiring two plates and nine screws in my right arm and one plate and five screws in my left arm.
Rehabilitation would have been much more difficult without the caring and compassionate assistance of Physical Therapist Nicki Harris. Nicki helped me through one of the hardest times of my life, giving me encouragement while challenging me to improve my strength and flexibility.

Although I am only 4 ½ months into my recovery, I have my life back and I am back flying the friendly skies again! I could not have done it without Southlake Orthopaedics–Thank you Dr. Blum, Dr. Bonatz, Dr. Smith and PT Nicki Harris–y’all are awesome!


Southlake Orthopedics is amazing! They are spot on! Dr. Craig & the rest of the staff there are wonderful! They all go out of their way to make sure you’re comfortable & to ease the check in process as well. I hardly had any wait time which is basically unheard of at this day & age!! If you need a great Ortho Dr, I HIGHLY recommend this group!


From beginning to end my visit was very organized and professional. I was seen for a shoulder issue that turned out didnt require surgery (I was grateful) but was given a shot and Dr Blum was excellent in his delivery of that injection! They took different X-ray views in addition to those by my PCP to get different perspective of my shoulder, he examined me, reviewed my MRI report and explained my situation. Excellent doctor. Dr Booker also performed both of my husbands shoulder surgeries…Br Bonatz has worked on his hands. Great group of docs!


I can’t recommend this office enough! My surgeon and occupational therapist are constantly working together to find the best treatment and recovery plan to get my hand to a usable state! Such a caring, efficient, and knowledgeable staff!
I wouldn’t recommend falling on glass and cutting a nerve, but if that happens to you, PLEASE see Dr. Smith to do your surgery and Nicki to get you moving back to health!


I am so thankful for Dr. Smith and the rest of the staff at Southlake Orthopedics! From the moment I walked in the door, the staff has been so caring and kind. From the initial visit, to the surgery, to the splint fittings, Dr. Smith and my therapist have been excellent at explaining everything and making sure I have been as comfortable as possible. I feel that they and the rest of the staff consistently go the extra mile and I can’t imagine anything but a smooth recovery!

Dr. Harley Lamey

Athletic Director, Hoover High School

“At Hoover, we believe that “Best is the Standard,” and that is the level of care we get with Dr. Michael Ellerbusch and Southlake Orthopedics. The prompt attention they give to our athletes is second to none. Their professionalism, thoroughness, and availability allow us to get our athletes back into competition. Hoover Athletics is blessed to have Dr. Ellerbusch and Southlake Orthopedics as a part of the Hoover Family. Go Bucs!”


I have been seeing Dr. Talbert since 2009 when my back problems started,
Then I had to have surgery on my hand for carpel tunnel and he did that, then I had a problem with my neck and had to have surgery for that also and both surgeries went very well, got me out of my pain both times, and just went for an MRI yesterday and my mid back is in horrible shape he said, so if I have to have surgery on it, there is no one else I would have or trust more to do it than Dr.Talbert himself..All the workers are all very sweet and nice to you…Love Southlake Orthopedics


My name is Sharon Curington and after Dr. George Robert Booker performing hip replacement, I started physical therapy at Southlake Therapy. I saw several therapists, but no one was like Rachel Smith. She is the best ever! Rachel is very caring and gave me answers no one else did during my rehabilitation. If you go to Southlake Therapy, ask for her!



Dr. Craig is the absolute best! I trust him with my life. He is the only one who would help me and find out what was causing my back pain. I arrived early to my appointment due to the threat of severe weather, I saw Dr. Craig without any delay and on my way home by my appointment time!

I completed my patient check-in process on-line, so when I arrived the kiosk was simple and fast.

The staff is truly knowledgeable and “care about the patient.” They treated me like they see me every day, not like a stranger. I appreciated the timely manner they do EVERYTHING. They show compassion towards their patients.

With no hesitation, I will share my experience of Dr. Craig at Southlake Orthopaedics. Thank you, Dr. Craig!!!


I was struggling with severe pain in both knees as a result of three motorcycle accidents and air craft mishaps while serving in the military. My Family Physician recommended that I see Dr. Dewey Jones IV. This was the best decision I ever made regarding my struggles with injured and worn out knees. I initially tried a less invasive outpatient procedure suggested by Dr. Jones, which provided significant relief for six months, exactly as Dr. Jones indicated it would. This gave me the time to consider the more permanent solution which was the total knee replacement.
Dr. Jones explained in great detail the surgical options (Total Knee replacement) and recommended that I attend a pre-surgery seminar at Grandview Medical Center. This seminar helped me to further understand not only the surgery, but what to expect post-surgery with rehabilitation to make my procedure successful.

I have had both knees replaced by Dr. Jones (two years apart) and all went exceptionally well. Dr. Jones and his staff were so helpful throughout the entire process. Dr. Jones was at my bedside following surgery and explained what the next steps would be during the recovery phase.

Therapy was at times tough, but the work certainly paid off as I am pain-free and totally mobile one year following my last surgery.

I ABSOLUTELY would recommend Dr. Jones, without hesitation, to anyone considering knee or any other orthopaedic related surgery. If I ever require any other orthopaedic surgeries, Dr. Jones will be my first call.



I was in a car accident a while back where my hand and wrist were broken. Even though I had surgery at the time, the injury left me with severe pain that ran from the tips of my fingers up my arm to my shoulder.
I didn’t want to go through another surgery, but my son-in-law is a friend of Dr. Bonatz. They were running together one day, and he told Dr. Bonatz about my situation. Eventually, after a lot of prayer, I agreed to go see Dr. Bonatz to see if there was anything that could be done to relieve the pain.

Dr. Bonatz examined me and reviewed my case. He noticed that there had been some changes in my hand and wrist in the seven years that had passed since the accident, and felt that a surgery could help. Dr. Bonatz even consulted with my previous surgeon, and together they recommended a wrist infusion to me.

The surgery took place in April 2012, and I followed up with Southlake Orthopaedics’ Occupational Therapist Kathy Dollar. The rehab process was outstanding, and the staff was very supportive. Dr. Bonatz made it clear that it could take up to a year post surgery to realize the full effects, but I am already experiencing less pain.

Today, I am back to doing things I haven’t been able to do in a long time. I have no regrets about my decision, even though having surgery was a difficult choice to make. I would definitely recommend Dr. Bonatz and Southlake Orthopaedics to others. Not only is he a terrific surgeon, he also has great taste in bow-ties!


Love Southlake Ortho, they are the BEST! Dr. Talbert has always taken great care of my knees, Dr. Booker took care of my torn rotator cuff, Dr. Kraus my feet and Dr. Craig takes great care of my back. I would recommend any of these fine doctors. Starting going in 2006, Dr. Talbert got me walking again(knee) and infection free from another doctors mistake. Dr. Craig has definitely got to be the best back doctor around!!! He believes surgery should be the last option, but if needed will send you to one of his colleagues. If it weren’t for Dr. Craig, I would never have found out I had rheumatoid arthritis and probably be in a wheelchair by now. He sent me to a great Rheumatologist and have been getting the help I need ever since.
Dr. Craig does the blocks on my back, orders PT when needed and spends quality time with me when I come in for my appointments.

Again, if you want the BEST group of doctors around, call Southlake Ortho.

Just want to say “thank you” to all my wonderful doctors!!

All the personnel are wonderful! From the front office, all the technicians, nurses, etc……won’t find any better!


I had, what appears to be, a successful meniscus tear repaired today. I would like to thank Dr. Blum and his staff at MedPlex Surgical Center. They were very professional and the accommodations were top notch. I would recommend Southlake Orthopaedics to anyone. After my foot was reattached Dr Krauss was the only ankle specialist to get me back on my feet and wasn’t obsessed with cramming pharmaceuticals down my throat.

I’m not a fan of big pharma and the whole “treatment” craze in the current medical atmosphere but I will say these particular Doctors are more concerned with cures than trying to treat your ailments. I was hesitant letting any other Doctor do a procedure on me, until Dr Krauss informed that me Dr Blum also performed a corrective procedure on his knee that was a 100% success. For to hear that was a far cry from my cardio Doctors who are blatantly pro big pharma, so much so I called Dr Cox a legal pill pusher…pissed him off highly, but the statement is the truth.

Southlake Orthopaedic Doctors are the other side of the coin, are what Doctors should be about, and I would like to publicly acknowledge and thank them for being just that! Bravo!


Very caring and professional staff. Dr. Ellerbusch is very knowledgeable and thorough. His staff is very sweet. Shelly was very helpful with setting up the MRI and getting the approval from the insurance company. My 13 year old son injured his knee while wrestling and they took great care of him and has started him on a road to recovery.

After getting the MRI results, Dr. Ellerbusch personally called to review them with me


I cannot recommend this practice in general, and Dr. Talbert specifically, enough. I have had severe lower back pain for years, Dr. Dykes at Alabama Bone And Joint clinic told me it was bursitis, that it was just a danger of getting old, and that I needed to be more active. He sent me upstairs to their physical therapy clinic and I followed their protocol for a couple months and they released me said that was as good as I was ever going to feel again. When the pain worsened, and I called back I was told by their front desk person (after a deep sigh) that their back doctor only sees patients on Thursdays and I had to get my own MRI and bring it to him, and that I better hurry because his spots fill up fast.

I went to my primary car at AFC that night, and Was referred for an MRI and then to Southlake and Dr. Talbert for diagnosis. He found a synovial cyst, after discussing previous attempts at PT, recommended a bilateral laminectomy with instrument fusion of my L4 and L5. Then he hugged me. And hugged my family when he met them on day of surgery. I have never felt so cared for by a doctor and will be forever grateful to him and to Southlake.


Dr. Craig was amazing! very engaging! We left with a plan in place which is what we wanted. Where as the previous places we have been could not seem to do the same! Thank you Dr. Craig & staff as everyone was so pleasant and we felt like the actually cared and aren’t looking to just suck our Insurance dry. read less


I have been using Southlake Orthopedics for several years now. Dr. Ellerbusch has been wonderful with all of my non surgical treatments and I have had a very successful rotator cuff repair and a knee replacement (instant pain relief and no regrets) performed by Dr. Blum. The staff is so friendly and very helpful. As I was hiking recently, I was reminded of how very thankful I am for my increased mobility and decreased pain.


I had been dealing with musculoskeletal issues for some time having orthopedic surgeries by two other surgeons when I came to see Dr. George Robert Booker as a patient. At this state, I was using the assistance of a wheelchair to get around. My son recommended I come in to Birmingham and seek the opinion of Dr. Booker; he works with Dr. Booker at the outpatient surgery center.

My first impression of Dr. Booker when he came in, he is very approachable, down-to-earth, and easy to communicate with and I didn’t feel he was rushed to get “out the door.” He made me feel very calm and “smiled” at me when making eye contract.

Dr. Booker explained to me very confidently, I was dealing with severe bilateral degenerative joint disease. Basically, I needed to have both hips replaced. Both of my hips were in a mess! He shared the condition was more severe on the right side, but both needed surgical attention. He explained the surgery process very thoroughly, and in January 2021 I had right hip replacement and in April I had the left side replaced.

Dr. Booker and his staff, Lauryn and Brooke, are so caring and made my whole experience at Southlake Orthopaedics GREAT! My greatest fear was never being able to walk again and Dr. Booker’s skill as a surgeon and physician has made it possible for me to be mobile again. I came to Southlake in a wheelchair, and then progressed to walking with a cane through rehab and now; I can get around without the use of the walking cane.

Dr. Booker is my HERO! He is the only surgeon I would ever consider for any type of future orthopaedic care.

Tommie Harrison

I am amazed at my healing and recovery from having replacement surgery of my left knee with Dr. Blum. This is not my first experience with this type of procedure, having had my other knee replaced by a different orthopaedic surgeon. This surgery has done so much better and I give credit to Dr. Blum for his expertise and skills in surgery to help my knee get flexibility and range of motion so quickly.

My primary care doctor, Dr. Snyder referred me to Dr. Blum. I was to a point; I was having difficulty walking and had lost my ability to get around. Dr. Blum and his staff were great. He communicated the treatment plan for my surgery and I am so thankful with my outcome. My rehabilitation has gone well and even my therapist has commented how quickly I have gained my range of motion so fast from surgery.

Something Dr. Blum and I have in common, we both enjoy the outdoors and gardening and I am so pleased to be returning to my garden activities. This motivates me to stay committed to doing my exercises to maintain my flexibility. I would recommend Dr. Blum and Southlake Orthopaedics to anyone who is reconsidering knee placement surgery.


I had previously seen Dr. William Craig at Southlake, and happy with the “team” approach and he referred me to Dr. George Robert Booker. This is what I find so great with Dr. Booker and his “entire” team. Dr. Booker was very clear in sharing my diagnosis and outlying the treatment plan to get me back on the road to recovery.

Everyone at Southlake Orthopaedics had a part to play and the team was very supportive, front desk staff to the x-ray technologists, they all take their positions very seriously. Employees are not “just going through the motions.” They really care about your well-being and ensuring personalized and compassionate care towards patients.

Dr. Booker has performed knee replacement for both my knees, my right knee surgery was in September 2021 and most recent left knee replaced in October 2021. My rehabilitation has gone great, being released to drive myself after 3 weeks. I was up walking the same day of surgery with both surgeries.

I thank Dr. Booker and all his staff! I have realized, it is amazing the number of people who need or are considering knee replacement surgery, and I immediately recommend Dr. Booker and Southlake Orthopaedics. I tell them all, “second to having the best surgeon to perform surgery, you must do your physical therapy.” I feel Dr. Booker has a great group of people.
Another great feature I like at Southlake Orthopaedics is the kiosk “check-in” system. It is easy and quick to complete.

Ryan Jones

MCL Injury – Dr. Jonathan Isbell

Years back when I was in college, I experienced an MCL injury. At the time, I allowed the injury to heal itself, but began to have issues again with my knee and made the decision to seek treatment. I have known Dr. Jonathan Isbell for a couple of years now, hearing what a fantastic doctor he is.

I scheduled an appointment and Dr. Isbell was very thorough with his plan of action and made sure I fully understood everything that he was going to do with surgery and the “why” behind it! I felt confident, I was in great hands with him reviewing x-rays, and the MRI, I had a full understanding of the procedure. He performed a left knee arthroscopy with partial medial meniscectomy.

As someone that has had prior knee and ankle surgeries, this was one of the best experiences I could have had undergoing surgery! Dr. Isbell, the staff, the rehab personnel, the nurses, and the receptionist were all a true delight to work with during my knee surgery. Knowing my history, and the likelihood of a knee replacement one day, I look forward to seeing and being a patient of Dr. Isbell again.

Thank you for getting me back to “less pain and more living” doing the things I enjoy with my time Dr. Isbell!