We can't decide if this makes the idea of brain surgery more or less terrifying: Instead of sawing through your skull, neurosurgeons have found another way of getting at your brain -- tunneling through your eye socket.
Surgeons make a tiny incision behind or through the eyelid, then make a small hole through the eye socket to reach the brain. The new approach, pioneered by surgeons at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Washington Medical Center, protects important arteries and the nerves for sight and smell, according to a news release from UC San Diego. The new technique -- called transorbital neuroendoscopic surgery, or TONES -- works for patients with cerebral spinal fluid leaks, optic nerve decompression, cranial base fractures and removal of tumors.
The study was published in the September issue of the journal Neurology. (We must admit Boing Boing beat us to writing about the new research, and we must further admit we love the creepy comic they include with their write-up.)
And with a surgery like this one, there's no huge, scary, transcranial scar. In fact, there's no scar at all -- it's a version of the growing number of "natural orifice" surgeries, intended to reduce scars, pain, infection and recover time. Last month, our senior health writer, JoNel Aleccia, wrote about these kinds of surgeries, talking to a San Diego physician who'd removed all kinds of organs from all kinds of places -- including pulling a gallbladder or an appendix out of the mouth, and a weight-loss surgery that removed part of a woman's stomach through her, ah, vagina.
Actually, the whole eye socket thing doesn't sound that bad, after all.
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