Samuel Barnett, M.D., is Professor of Neurological Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, and received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed his neurosurgery residency at UT Southwestern and then a clinical fellowship in skull base and cerebrovascular neurosurgery at the University of South Florida working with Harry R. van Loveren, M.D., a well-known neurosurgeon.

Prior to joining the faculty at UT Southwestern, Dr. Barnett was Assistant Professor and Director of Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He was recruited to UT Southwestern for his expertise in skull base surgery and is currently the Co-director of the UT Southwestern Comprehensive Skull Base Surgery Program.

Dr. Barnett is board certified in neurological surgery and is an expert in endoscopic minimally invasive surgery, conventional open brain surgery, and radiosurgery.

He was included in D Magazine's Best Doctors list for 2018 and 2022.

He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (Young Neurosurgeons Committee, Ethics Committee, and Member Services Committee), the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Rocky Mountain Neurosurgical Society, the North American Skull Base Society, and the Acoustic Neuroma Association.

In terms of research, Dr. Barnett is focused on clinical outcomes after skull base surgery. His most recent research interest involves working to improve imaging techniques to make brain surgery safer, particularly for brainstem cavernomas, which are located in the highly sensitive, lower area of the brain where it is very difficult to operate.

Personal Note

Outside of work, Dr. Barnett enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife and young son.

Meet Dr. Barnett

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.

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Education & Training
  • Fellowship - University of So. Florida-Tampa (2005-2006), Neurological Surgery
  • Medical School - University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (1995-1999)
  • Internship - Parkland Health and Hospital System (1999-2000), General Surgery
  • Residency - UT Southwestern Medical Center (2000-2005), Neurological Surgery
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • Congress of Neurological Surgeons
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Honors & Awards
  • D Magazine Best Doctor, 2018, 2022
Books & Publications
  • Coagulopathies in the neurosurgery patient
  • Genetics of cerebrovascular disease
  • Surgical approaches to skull based tumors

Clinical Focus

  • Acoustic Neuromas
  • Pituitary Tumors
  • Meningiomas
  • Skull Base Tumors
  • Brain Metastases
  • Gliomas

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Q&A by Dr. Barnett

Sam Barnett, M.D.

Dr. Barnett talks about his approach to patient care.