About Amir M. Karam, M.D
When my mother underwent heart transplant surgery 23 years ago, I too underwent a significant change; it was, for me, a definitive moment. Seeing the change those physicians enacted in my mother’s life, the pure joy they brought to her, resulted in an epiphany that lead me to my path. It was at that moment that I decided to devote myself to helping others through medicine.
As a facial plastic surgeon, I am driven by the opportunity to improve the quality of life of my patients. I’m inspired by the improvement in self–confidence I see in my patients every single day. Aging can be a trying and difficult process; no one enjoys the transformation as your former, youthful visage begins to sag and loosen into the face of a stranger. My passion is stopping that transformation in its tracks. My patients arrive disillusioned and downtrodden by the effects of aging and leave confident, youthful and glowing.
It wasn’t until my first year of medical school that I realized that I wanted to pursue a career as a facial plastic surgeon. During those first months of early exposure to the field, I found that facial plastic surgery fit my personality and intrinsic qualities. It’s a specialty that requires the perfect blend of demanding surgical execution, artistry and creativity. With the face, there’s no room for error; my innate ability to pay attention to detail made me the perfect candidate for the specialty. But more than anything, I understood how important people’s appearances are to them; here, I realized, I could have the greatest impact in my patients’ lives.
It was never destined to be an easy path. First I spent 11 years doing clinical and scientific facial plastic surgery research at UC Irvine School of Medicine, where I published over 20 scientific articles and presented over 40 scientific presentations. As a result of my determination and hard work, I was awarded the Gordon J. Hatfield Award for the best overall performance in Surgery in my class. After graduating at the top of my class, I went on to pursue surgical training in Otolaryngology—head and neck surgery—followed by a Fellowship in Advanced Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, which is only offered to 40 people each year. And since then, for the last 20 years, I’ve been honing my craft. Most people don’t enjoy the pressure and responsibility that comes along with the field, but I thrive in the tough environment—it drives me to always want to deliver the best to my patients and pushes me to be innovative in my practice.
Perhaps the aspect of my career that I am most proud of is my specific, centralized specialization. The face is both complex and delicate, and the impact of facial plastic surgery is enormous. When you focus on a narrow range of procedures and do them over and over again as I have, you naturally develop an expertise, allowing you to get results that aren’t just better, but safer. When it comes to the face, I believe you absolutely need to have this level of commitment and experience. You can’t hide the face. You have to get it right the first time.
My devotion to my craft has allowed me to develop innovative ways of treating the aging face with the goal of creating a natural and fully–restored appearance. Not being distracted by other procedures allows me to focus on perfecting the limited procedures I perform. Every patient receives a unique, specialized and perfectly crafted procedure and result. I’ve always recognized the importance of comprehensively addressing the aging changes so that the whole face looks balanced and rejuvenated. Rather than treat one aspect of the face, thereby essentially aging the other areas, I treat the face as a whole, resulting in an outcome that is seamless and totally natural.
I am now proud to say that I am an expert and innovative force in the field of facial plastic surgery. I’ve penned dozens of research articles, presented at more than 40 scientific national and international meetings, and I’m often invited to speak on the subject at colleges and universities. My textbook, Facial Rejuvenation, has come to define the standard in facial rejuvenation for my colleagues and students of the craft. And most importantly, my work has been repeatedly recognized by the public; I’ve been named Best Cosmetic Surgeon in San Diego seven times, and patients fly in from around the world to receive my treatments.
I know that I am gifted with rare talent and extraordinary skill, and I try to share these gifts with the community whenever possible. It brings me great joy and pride to be able to share my medical expertise with those who normally wouldn’t have access to it. I volunteer with FACE to FACE, an organization through which I provide surgery to victims of domestic violence, helping to restore confidence in those who need it most. I also donate my medical skills to victims of violence and veterans in order to make those trying times a little more manageable. We donate to a variety of local charities and organizations, including Casa De Amparo, for the treatment of victims of child abuse and neglect; Fresh Start Surgical Gifts; Sharp HospiceCare; local schools, both public and private; and many others. I am so grateful that in addition to performing a job I love every day, my career also allows me to give back to a community that has already given me so much.
As much as I love my work, I love my family even more. I believe one of the reasons I relate to my patients on such a personal level is our mutual passion for family. I met Neda during my first year of medical school and almost immediately knew I had found “the one.” Within a year we were married. We started a family after a few years, and now we have four beautiful boys—Cameron, Daniel, Nicholas and Luca. When I’m not working, nearly all of my time is spent with them. Neda and I enjoy taking the boys to their various athletic activities and watching their enthusiasm for life grow. I coach their basketball and flag football teams and love taking them out on the golf course. At the moment, soccer and golf are their passions. Whenever we get the chance, we love to hit the road and explore the country as a family.
It means a lot when I say that my care plan and approach for my patients is exactly the same as those for my family members. It is a point of pride, for myself as well as my entire team, to ensure every patient is comfortable throughout their interactions with Carmel Valley Facial Plastic Surgery and overjoyed with their results. It is an honor and a pleasure to offer my expertise to every single patient in order to help them feel like their best, most confident selves. After 20 years, I still feel like I am living a dream. I feel like I’m the luckiest person to have the opportunity to make such a positive emotional impact in my patients’ lives.