Risky spinal surgery corrects man's severe neck deformity

DAYTON, Ohio -- Just outside of Dayton, Ohio, a medical breakthrough took place. Dr. Kamal Woods performed a unique surgery that no other surgeon in the world has done on a man with severe neck deformity.

"Neurosurgeons wouldn't touch me. I had one doctor tell me I was going to live the rest of my life like that. It was heartbreaking," patient Travis Wells told WCPO.

Heartbreaking, but not hopeless. Wells, from Middletown, wanted to find a solution for his severe neck deformity.

"It was like having a migraine 24/7 for almost three years," Wells said.

After several neurosurgeons, pain specialists, Botox injections and a lot of prayers, Wells was referred to Dr. Kamal Woods, a neurosurgeon for Kettering Health Network.

"I was overwhelmed with how severe his neck deformity was. His left chin was on his left shoulder. He could not look up," Dr. Woods said.

One of the challenges Dr. Woods had is that this surgery has never been done before in the world.

"The feeling I had was more of responsibility and accountability. He was so trusting and willing to put his life in my hands, so I knew I had to take my very best care of him," Dr. Woods said.

They went ahead with the risky surgery.

"The world literally changed. I took a 12-and-a-half hour nap, woke up and saw things completely differently," Wells said.

The surgery gave Wells a new outlook to life - literally.

"I went from viewing everything horizontally and down to being able to look people in the eyes again. I was actually on my feet day one. It brought tears to my eyes. You don't think that's going to happen," he said.