The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Unfortunately, in brain surgery taking a direct course to a tumor can result in the maiming and sometimes death of a patient. Because of this, brain surgeons are forced to take twists and turns in their quest to find and destroy tumors, sawing off much of the patient’s skull in the process. During Pamela Shavaun Scott’s brain surgery, her doctor made an innovative move by using a most peculiar shortcut to reach the tumor: Pamela’s eye-socket.

The word "lobotomy" brings up grim images of gore and despair, representing a period of U.S. medicine that most doctors would rather forget. While the motives behind the lobotomies may have been skewed, the actual procedure itself may have been on to something.

As reported by UT San Diego, minimally invasive surgeons cut down on both risk and recovery time, and a brain surgery where no incision to the skull is made is about as non-invasive as an operation can get. While taking an ice pick to the eye is largely frowned upon, taking a scalpel held by a gifted surgeon saves lives. By entering the eye at the lid, the crow's feet, or by creating a small incision hidden in the eyebrow, doctors are given a variety of different ways to operate on tumors in more hard-to-reach areas of the brain.

For Scott, the success of her surgery is all one needs to know that this type of operation works. "I feel like a walking miracle," she told UT San Diego.

When Scott was diagnosed with a brain tumor, doctors told her that the only way they could relieve her daily headaches and in turn save her life was by performing brain surgery. Rather than starting at the top of Scott’s skull and pushing aside brain matter until the tumor was found, Scott’s doctor, Dr. S. Tonya Stefko, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, presented another option. Instead, he suggested that the team make a small incision in her eyelid to reach the tumor resting behind her eyeball.

“The nice thing about it is we have to saw off much less of your head," Stefko said.

Of course, simply because Scott’s surgery went so well does not mean that this type of operation doesn’t come with its own set of risks. Before her operation, Scott was warned that the procedure might leave her blind or with residual cognitive damage.

“This is worth exploring. Because it's new doesn't mean it's necessarily better," Dr. Robert Harbaugh, president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, told UT San Diego.

Also, the operation isn’t available to everyone and the tumor must be in a certain location and of a particular size in order to work. Still, it’s best for patients to be presented with all surgery options in order to make the best decision for themselves. But this is not always the case. Scott had to travel all the way from her home in California to Pittsburgh, Pa., in order to have the procedure done. 

“The sad thing is that people don't know there are other options than what their small-town doctor is telling them,” the 56-year-old said.