A Pennsylvania tree cutter is lucky to be alive after a chainsaw kicked back and lodged in his neck.

James Valentine was working in a tree in Ross Township, about 11 kilometres outside of downtown Pittsburgh, on Monday when the chain on his saw snapped, causing it to fly back and cut about two inches into his skin, with the chain and blade eventually getting lodged between his collarbone and neck.

“It was just a freak accident. It could happen to anybody climbing a tree. The chainsaw came back at me and got stuck in my neck,” Valentine told CBS News.

Valentine told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette it was “the worst pain you could ever imagine.”

Paramedics said Valentine managed to turn the saw off and climb down the tree under his own power, with the saw’s teeth still in his skin.

James Valentine Chainsaw Neck Collarbone X-Ray

An X-ray from Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh shows a chainsaw stuck in tree climber James Valentine's neck. Valentine is expected to make a full recovery, doctors said. (Allegheny Health Network/Associated Press)

On the ground, Valentine said blood was “squirting out,” around the saw.

“That was crazy," he said.

Paramedics said Valentine never lost consciousness as he was raced to the hospital. Trauma surgeons at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh managed to take the saw apart and remove it from Valentine’s neck.

Amazingly, hospital officials said he was never in critical condition despite the shocking injury.

The hospital said Valentine is expected to make a full recovery and is set to be released from hospital on Wednesday. Valentine himself said he hopes to return to work soon.

“I am a tree climber, that's what I do," he said.