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High School Sax Player Back in Tune after Spine Surgery

David Price Sax Surgery

David Price hopes to be playing his saxophone again soon with his Belvidere High School band, now that his doctor has given him a thumbs up.

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David Price Sax Surgery

Fifteen-year-old David Price of Belvidere, N.J., hopes to be playing saxophone in his high school band again soon thanks to St. Luke’s pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dustin Greenhill, MD, who performed surgery to correct his severely curved spine in November.

David Price hopes to be playing his saxophone again soon with his Belvidere (New Jersey) High School band, now that his doctor has given him a thumbs up.

He was temporarily restricted from lifting the horn after undergoing complex surgery to correct a severely deformed spine, also known as scoliosis; a condition that was diagnosed in him in 2020.

Now the 15-year-old is on the mend, thanks to St. Luke’s University Health Network pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dustin Greenhill, MD, who David’s mother, Pauline Price, calls “amazing.”

“I’m feeling good, not having any pain,” said David, who is able to walk upright after having undergone the corrective procedure on his back at the end of November 2021.

Dr. Greenhill is the area’s only pediatric orthopedic surgeon who performs the demanding, yet life-enhancing operation to straighten a youth’s spine. St. Luke’s is one of the few places in the country offering both high-level adult and pediatric spine deformity surgery.

During a six-hour procedure at St. Luke’s Bethlehem Campus on Nov. 30, he inserted and attached torso-length specialized implants into the diseased portion of David’s spine to realign the vertebrae in his upper back. This corrected his spinal deformity, which had developed a 70-degree, C-shaped curve, most likely during an adolescent growth spurt.

“This type of spinal deformity often becomes visible during the teenage years, due to one’s growth spurt,” explained Dr. Greenhill. “Ideally, it is treated before starting to cause pain or other complications.”

Severe scoliosis like David’s can eventually compromise breathing and affect other physical activities. Because David plays saxophone, which involves deep breathing, Pauline said some physicians were relieved that he was able to retain his lung power despite their reduced capacity from the curvature.

Mild scoliosis is usually observed to determine if it is worsening, explained Dr. Greenhill. Moderate cases may require the patient to wear a custom-molded upper-body brace, and severe cases like David’s often warrant surgical correction.

His recovery from surgery has been smooth, and there’s little chance that he’ll ever need another corrective operation, said Dr. Greenhill.

The probable cause of this deformity, Dr. Greenhill said, was a bit unusual. A long, thin fluid-filled cyst had grown inside his patient’s spinal cord over years, causing his bones to curve abnormally.

This condition didn’t give David much pain, said his mother, who felt the malformation while rubbing her son’s back to give him relief for mild discomfort.

“He never complained about the pain and often wore loose-fitting sweatshirts, which hid the problem,” Pauline explained.

Now well into his recovery, David has returned to school and is again practicing his musical scales and tunes on his sax, both seated and standing, as he prepares for upcoming band performances.

“He’s doing really well, thanks to Dr. Greenhill,” said his mother.

Dr. Greenhill, who has treated hundreds of children with scoliosis and was elected by his peers to the international Scoliosis Research Society, won’t be tooting his own horn about David’s excellent prognosis or his own advanced surgical skills. His young and grateful patient will do that for him, and David’s family will join in the chorus of well-earned praise from their home near Belvidere, the school bandstand or anywhere at all.

“If anyone needs a great pediatric orthopedic surgeon, I’ll tell them to go to Dr. Greenhill at St. Luke’s Bethlehem Campus,” said Pauline. “I can’t recommend him and his staff enough.”

Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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