This medical video looks into the medical advancements that allow brain surgery to be easier.
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Jennifer Matthews: Paul Santos has spent the last five years flying as a proud member of the U.S. Navy. But four months ago, Paul faced a challenge that could have changed all that. Paul Santos: They tell me that, well you're 23-years-old, and you're going into brain surgery, and I'm just like geez, man. Jennifer Matthews: He had a painful cyst in his brain that affected his vision. Doctors said he needed a craniotomy -- which meant cutting a large hole into his skull. Determined to keep his pilot status, Paul was ready for anything. Paul Santos: It sounded like such a butcher job, but I told them sign me up, so let's set an appointment. Jennifer Matthews: But a chance encounter with a friend led Paul to Doctor John Frazee at UCLA, where his friend's mother had the same type of cyst removed with a new procedure. Dr. John Frazee: We're making a tiny hole, probably the size of a nickel, through the bone itself, so there's a little incision. Jennifer Matthews: Doctor Frazee developed this small endoscope, which has taken brain surgery from a hole this big, to a hole this big. Dr. John Frazee: This is really great, I mean, how often can you take an idea, develop it, and actually then bring it and apply it to a patient? I mean, that's something that you don't get to do very often. Jennifer Matthews: The smaller incision means less blood loss, a faster recovery, and less pain. This is Paul two days after his surgery. Paul Santos: I don't really feel like a million bucks but I'm almost there, maybe 750,000 bucks, still pretty good. Jennifer Matthews: Today, his pain is gone. Paul Santos: It just seems like nothing's changed. I mean, goals are still there. I still have my goals to work towards. Jennifer Matthews: And his ultimate goal is to get back in the pilot's seat. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.