Born in Canada to parents who immigrated there from Italy after World War II, Anthony Miniaci, M.D., recalls his mother’s wonderful home-cooked dishes. Yet when he’s whipping up his favorite gnocchi or veal cutlets, he attributes his “outside the box” style to his father’s more spontaneous approach in the kitchen.
“My mom was a great cook, trust me,” he says. “But I actually learned to cook on the fly from my dad. He would throw things together that were tremendous.”
That ability to look at the world a little differently — a trait he inherited from his father — has also made him an innovator in his field. An orthopedic surgeon recognized for developing improved shoulder implants and bone-preserving, less invasive techniques that have significantly bettered patient outcomes, Dr. Miniaci is deputy chief medical executive of Baptist Health Orthopedic Care.
Dr. Miniaci recently sat down for a “Meet the Chief” chat, sharing his experience and some of his views on orthopedic injuries. As a young surgeon at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Sports Health in Cleveland and at their Sports Medicine Clinic in Toronto, he quickly earned the nickname MacGyver from the operating room staff. Like the TV character, Dr. Miniaci had a knack for coming up with solutions to complex problems.
“I had a natural interest in fixing things,” he says. Coupled with his inquisitive and detail-oriented nature, a career in surgery seemed like the right fit. He has also mastered another skill vital in the operating room — focus. “You develop this total focus. You don’t pay attention to all of the distractions.”
He compares it to the way some of baseball’s best hitters have told him they visualize the ball. “They tell me that when they’re getting hot, they actually see the ball. They see the rotation in the ball, and it slows down for them. When you’re doing surgery, you just focus on your goal, and everything becomes very clear.”
His motivation, he explains, is to help patients return to the activities that are important to them, whether they are professional athletes or grandparents who want to play with their grandkids. “At the end of the day, it sounds kind of corny, but it’s all about helping patients.”
Dr. Miniaci has treated high-profile athletes from professional hockey, football, and baseball teams, as well as Olympic athletes and college and high school players. He also served as the head team physician for the Cleveland Browns and an orthopedic consultant to the Toronto Blue Jays. It was his own love of sports and his experience as a soccer player that led him to the field of orthopedic surgery.
When he realized how many shoulder replacement patients couldn’t return to full activity after surgery, he began to question the spherical design of implants. And, after considerable research, he developed an ovoid-shaped implant that more resembled the natural anatomy. “With the new implants, patients actually get a better range of motion, they have better function, and they get back to sports without limitations,” he says.
High school sweethearts, Dr. Miniaci and his wife, Judy, have raised three children. A daughter and one son became physicians while another son has a career in the food industry. While the couple has adjusted to South Florida’s weather, he admits they love to spend some time each summer at a little lakeside cottage in Canada, where the family rides bikes, gets out on the water, and has outdoor cookouts.
Dr. Miniaci sees patients at the Baptist Health Orthopedics Deerfield Beach location, 3313 West Hillsboro Blvd., Suite 202.