Dr Robert Bruce Barrow was born in Montrose, Scotland in 1970. His father Dr. Brian Barrow was specializing in Orthopaedics in Edinburgh at this time. Robert's father and 2 older brothers are Orthopaedic surgeons and are in a group practice at Sunninghill hospital. His younger brother is a Gastroenterologist at Donald Gordon Medical Centre. Robert's Grandfather was a well known General Practitioner in Central Johannesburg.
Robert attended junior school at St. Peter's Preparatory School in Johannesburg and then went on to boarding school at St. Andrews College in Grahamstown. He finished at College in 1988. Robert studied Medicine at the University of Witwatersrand and graduated in 1995. After completing his internship at Helen Joseph Hospital, he spent a year working in the United Kingdom in Hip Arthroplasty.