1848 Grafts - Dr. Timothy Carman Review at La Jolla Hair Restoration in San Diego, CA
My HT (hair transplant) surgeon was Dr. Timothy Carman out of La Jolla Hair Restoration in San Diego. I rarely write reviews like this but my two HT experiences with Dr. Carman have been amazing and I want others to get a better sense of what a great surgeon he is. I am currently writing this review during day 2 post-op of my second HT with Dr. Carman. I will get into my experience with Dr. Carman a little later in this review.
I was 31 years old when I had my first HT. I have always had a receding hairline, even while growing up, but started thinning and further receding in my early 20's. By my mid 20's, I had heard about HT's but never knew where to begin researching. The tough part is, if you have any interest in having a HT, you immediately get turned off by the idea once you see someone who has had the unfortunate experience of receiving a very bad and noticeable transplant with a poor surgeon. Furthermore, because the majority of people that get HT's don't go around proactively mentioning they had one, you never realize when you're in front of an excellent and natural looking HT.
I became very interested in getting a HT when I was speaking to someone at a work meeting and he mentioned he had a HT procedure a few years ago. I was immediately blown away because it looked 100% natural. After thoroughly inspecting his hair and donor area for a couple minutes, I was inspired to start my mission to get the same results! The person I met at the work meeting also chose Dr. Carman to do his HT after meeting with multiple surgeons, which is how I first learned about Dr. Carman. If I can share anything about my HT process and experience that offers additional support or insight for someone else, I have done my job with this review post.
First things to do in the process is interview/consult with a minimum of two surgeons. I would HIGHLY recommend meeting with more than two surgeons in order to find the right one because most surgeons produce poor to average looking results that end up looking unnatural and leave patients unsatisfied. I interviewed with five and it was obvious when I came across the right one (Dr. Tim Carman). Although I was able to see Dr. Carman's work first hand with the person I met, I made sure to have consults with 4 additional recommended surgeons (one of which I have seen on this site but will not mention his name). What you will notice in many surgeon's before and after photos is they tend to give everyone a similar rounded hairline that will ultimately look unnatural. Look at good hairlines on men and women that have never had a transplant and you will almost never see someone with a perfectly straight and symmetrical hairline. You should notice that almost every hairline will be organic and have some unevenness, yet so many HT surgeons make hairlines that look too perfect. When this happens, the HT will look unnatural.
Throughout my process, I realized that almost ANY physician can transplant hair. In fact, any board certified doctor can legally/technically perform a HT surgery, which is probably why you'll even find random doctors like cardiologists doing HT's as side business. Transplanting hairs during the surgery is only about 10% of the job. The other 90% and most important part is the artistry itself and very few surgeons have the artistic eye to understand how and where to create hairlines and balance depth and density. This skill is what separates the few great surgeons from all the rest.
As I've mentioned above, I chose Dr. Tim Carman to be my surgeon. Keep in mind I drove almost 3 hours to his office and had many closer surgeons to choose from but like I said earlier, when you find the right surgeon, you know right away and it's worth any driving distance.
During my initial consult, Dr. Carman did not in any way try to "sell me" on getting a HT, which some offices did and were aggressive. Dr. Carman spent 1.5 hours with my wife and me during the consult and after I shared my hair transplant goals, he gave his recommendations as to how we could accomplish them. I never felt even the slightest bit of pressure from him or his staff. Although Dr. Carman was confident in his work and what he could do for me, he still encouraged me to consult with additional surgeons. By the end of my consult, I received a ton of great information and got a true sense that Dr. Carman understands the artistry behind placing grafts so the transplant looks natural in the end.
The other thing I appreciated was Dr. Carman giving me his personal cell number. Many other HT offices are essentially brokers for a list of surgeons and I have heard it can be difficult/impossible to get a hold of your surgeon if you have pre/post-op questions or concerns. Although Dr. Carman has reassured me it's okay to call his cell if I had questions, I have always first called the office and spoken with Pam, (the clinic director). Pam is one of the friendliest people you'll ever meet and has always been able to answer my pre/post-operative questions and concerns.
I think I remember hearing the technicians that assist throughout the surgery have been working with Dr. Carman for 6+ years. Their expertise is clearly evident.
Overall, I hope you will at least have a consultation with Dr. Carman if you're truly interested in having an HT. You will get so much support from him, Pam, and the rest of the staff from the very first phone call you make to them. I am more than confident Dr. Carman will likely be your surgeon in the end if you do a consult with him.
As for price...looking for the best bargain was not my main priority but I found the price and number of estimated grafts to be very fair and similar with most surgeons I met with. Dr. Carman is very upfront with his pricing on the website. If you’re traveling a longer distance like myself, the office will take care of the hotel arrangements for a couple nights, which is included in the price quoted at the consult.
My surgeries included...
1st surgery I had 1848 grafts and was a baldness class 2
2nd surgery I had approximately 1166 grafts
Some before and after photos from my first surgery can be seen on the following website if you copy and paste the link below…I don’t believe the photos do as much justice as seeing the results in person, but they should give you some idea:
The person I originally met at a work meeting who also had Dr. Carman do his HT had 2893 grafts during 1 session and was a baldness class 3. His photos should also be able to be seen on the same site.
I hope my post helps some of you out there that are interested in getting a hair transplant but are unsure about the process and how to choose your surgeon. Remember, take your time and don’t let any doctor/staff pressure you to get the surgery (this should be an immediate red flag if they are), do your research, have at least a 2-3 different physician consults and you’ll definitely know when you find the right surgeon.
Dr. Carman’s office number is (858)459-8600 and the website link is:
I highly recommend contacting Dr. Carman's office and speaking with Pam. I'm so confident you'll have a wonderful experience from start to finish with them.
Thanks for reading this and best of luck with your future hair transplant!
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