Endoscopic Skull Base Surgeon
As Co-director of the Comprehensive Skull Base Surgery Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Samuel (Sam) Barnett, M.D., is a neurosurgeon trained in the field of endoscopic minimally invasive brain tumor surgery.
"Whether it’s conventional surgery, endoscopic minimally invasive, or radiosurgery, I can provide my patients with a full spectrum of neurosurgical care. Or when a tumor requires the attention of multiple specialists, they are right there, ready to collaborate.”
This type of surgery utilizes tiny endoscopes with angled tips that are inserted through the nostril and into the sinuses and skull base. The endoscope works as a camera and gives the surgeon a clear view into the skull base to be able to excise the tumor and remove it through the nose with no external incisions.
Dr. Barnett says he most commonly uses this technique to remove pituitary tumors, but he can also remove meningiomas, craniopharyngiomas, chordomas, and chondrosarcomas.
“Endoscopic minimally invasive surgery is not a one-size-fits-all approach,” says Dr. Barnett. “It depends on the tumor and the patient, but I’m glad we are able to offer this as an option when it’s appropriate.”
The skull base is a complex area involving the bony shelf separating the brain from the eye sockets, nasal cavities, ear canals, and upper neck. Major nerves, blood vessels, and other structures pass through this area. Dr. Barnett co-leads the Skull Base Surgery Program, which includes physicians from otolaryngology (head and neck surgery), neurosurgery, neuro-ophthalmology, neuro-oncology, radiation oncology, interventional radiology, and pathology.
Dr. Barnett also is able to offer his patients traditional open brain surgery when it’s needed, and he is specially trained in radiosurgery, as well. Radiosurgery is a type of radiation therapy. Sometimes it’s used as the initial treatment for a brain tumor, but, more often, it’s used after surgery to treat residual tumor or if a tumor grows back.
“I like being able to offer my patients different types of surgical care, based on their need,” says Dr. Barnett.