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Back on Stage

Musician’s scoliosis surgery a resounding success.

Eighteen-year-old Dylan Blazick plays guitar, piano and sings. In addition to his day job as an Abington High School senior, the teen is a six-year veteran of the School of Rock-Bucks County, and plays in multiple bands. Orthopaedic surgeon Victor W. Hsu, M.D., performed a complex surgical procedure that got Dylan back on stage.

The Elkins Park resident was born with congenital scoliosis. Several of his bones had failed to separate normally, causing his body to rotate and bend differently from side to side and front to back. This particular type of scoliosis can often progress quickly, leading to imbalance, pain, and in severe cases, heart or lung dysfunction.

Dylan’s parents wisely sought medical attention for their son, and at age eight, he had back surgery to partially fuse his spine. Unfortunately, the growth centers in the front of his spine continued to grow and his spine began to twist around the rods. While he remained active, his curve continued to progress and caused a rotational deformity of his spine.

He was then referred to Victor Hsu, M.D., an orthopaedic spine surgeon at Abington Health’s Orthopaedic & Spine Institute.

Dr. Hsu explains, “When I first met Dylan and his family, I could tell he was a special kid. He is a talented musician with a great outlook on life and equally great family support. Unfortunately, Dylan’s scoliosis had become quite severe. He was having pain, and x-rays also showed his curve was progressing rapidly.”

While the majority of fusions performed by Dr. Hsu are minimally invasive, in this case, he had to perform the traditional “open” surgery, cutting through muscles and tissue in Dylan’s back to reach the spine. “We had to not only remove the implants that were buried in the bone, but also perform several osteotomies. This is when several sections of bones are actually cut away to be able to manipulate the spine.” Dr. Hsu and the surgical team then began the process of fusing each vertebral level to the next, implanting screws, rods, and connectors in 12 different vertebrae from the thoracic to the lumbar spine.

The result was a more balanced and stable spine for Dylan. Sharon Blazick, Dylan’s mother, recalls, “Dr. Hsu explained that such a complex surgery could involve a longer recovery process – probably up to six months. We were prepared for Dylan to miss the beginning part of the school year, perhaps coming back in early November.”

But you can’t keep a good man down. Dylan spent ten days in the hospital in late July 2010 to the first part of August. Six days after leaving the hospital, he attended a Jimmy Buffet concert. He then saw one of his all-time favorites, Paul McCartney, on tour. He needed no physical therapy, and started his senior year on time.

“I just don’t let anything interfere with what I want to do,” Dylan says. “I even played my music in the hospital.”

Best of all? Thanks to the meticulous surgical skills of Dr. Hsu and Dylan’s determination, the music man is already back performing on stage.

He barely missed a beat.

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