Neurosurgeon performs unique surgery on man with severe neck deformity

Medicine, Science

Surgery first of its kind in the world

A Kettering Physician Network neurosurgeon performed a surgery that no other surgeon in the world has ever done—and he literally gave the patient from Middletown, Ohio a new look on life.

The patient had a severe neck deformity which caused his head to lean to the point where his ear was touching his shoulder. The man had not been able to look up, work or drive for several years. His head and neck were in constant pain.

“It was embarrassing to walk around staring at the ground and not be able to look people in the eyes,” the patient recalls.

He had sought help from surgeons throughout the country and no one was able to help him. A physician in southwest Ohio heard of Kamal Woods, MD, medical director of Kettering Health Network’s Brain and Spine Center located on the campus of Kettering Medical Center in Kettering, Ohio, and recommended that the patient see him.

The patient says Dr. Woods’ confidence was very comforting. “Dr. Woods said he could help me, he wasn’t sure how at first but it was obvious that he was going to find a way,” the patient explains.

“At first glance, I knew that this was going to be a huge challenge,” explains Dr. Woods. “I had never seen anything quite like it before. I reviewed medical literature and could not find any mention of a similar case. We had to go back to the drawing board. I found inspiration just thinking of what a difference successful surgery would make in this patient’s life. We found a way and prayerfully and successfully executed the plan.”

Dr. Woods decided to perform the surgery in three stages. During the surgery, Dr. Woods intentionally broke the patient’s neck in four places to straighten his spine. The patient’s condition improved immensely following this one-of-a-kind procedure.

“It was like night and day,” the patient exclaims. “After I left the hospital, I saw new buildings, trees—things I hadn’t seen in a long time. I was used to seeing the car dashboard. The whole experience was a gift from God, it was life changing.”

The patient says before the procedure, he couldn’t do things like attend a baseball game, see a movie or eat at a restaurant. “I have a new lease on life,” he says.

Kettering Health Network’s Brain and Spine Center has a team of physicians, surgeons and technicians, each with a unique set of skills, who can diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the brain and spine—including hard-to-treat cases. The center offers the Dayton region and all southwestern Ohio the most advanced diagnostic, surgical and therapeutic neuroscience care.

Kettering Health Network is a not-for-profit network of eight hospitals, 10 emergency departments, and 120 outpatient facilities serving southwest Ohio. The network’s hospitals are KetteringGrandviewSycamore, Southview, Greene Memorial, Soin, Fort Hamilton, and Kettering Behavioral Medicine. Kettering College, a division of Kettering Medical Center, is a fully accredited college that specializes in health science education. Kettering Health Network is recognized as one of the 2017 Truven Health Analytics 15 Top Health Systems in the United States. For more information, visit