The Atlantic Center Hair Restoration Institute

The Atlantic Center Hair Restoration Institute is a unique, plastic surgical approach that gives its overall dedication to the preservation, restoration and genuine health for your hair.

As a practice, we see you as an individual. Each patient that walks into our office is different, no individual is the same, which results in each patient having a special, surgical plan that is right for them. Some patients fear certain types of hair transplantation because of the scar. Dr. Eric Stelnicki is board certified and has received many years of training in surgery that has focused on the minimization of scars, and restoring the body to its normal or desired form and function.

In hair restoration, there are automatic follicle distraction devices, robots that extract the implanted hair and many other non-surgical approaches in treating hair loss. Notably, we are a plastic surgery practice that is dedicated and obtains the level of skill in achieving optimal aesthetic result(s) for you, the patient!

All surgery is an art. But when it comes to your hair, it is the artistry of plastic surgery that helps us deliver the best surgical and medical outcome. We can guide you through all the available options, and help you understand the best way to meet your needs and expectations.

It is important to mention that our doctors are surgeons who obtain surgical privileges at several major hospitals and surgery centers in the area. Moreover, we are the only practice in the state of Florida that does routine hair transplantation on children. Dr. Stelnicki is one of the leading pediatric plastic surgeons at the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. He has gained extensive experience in hair transplantation for the treatment of birth defect related hair loss with cleft lip and palate, craniosynostis, scar related to neurosurgery and other post-traumatic scars in children. Additionally, Dr. Stelnicki has extensive experience in restoring hair in children that was lost secondary to burns.


Hair Transplantation

In the medical field, hair loss is known as alopecia, which is one of the more common conditions effecting men, women and children all over the world. The Atlantic Center Hair Restoration Institution fully dedicates and strives to make an unnoticeable difference in hair restoration. Hair loss can impact self-image and confidence, and both personally and professionally, a full head of hair represents an individual's feeling of attractiveness and desirability. The most common cause of hair loss is hormone-related pattern baldness or thinning hair. There are other patients who suffer from hair loss in the scalp, eyebrows and face due to medical or post-traumatic conditions. In result to congenital disorders, millions of people (including children)  possess scar related hair loss on the scalp or upper lip. Fortunately, results are very natural because of today's minimally invasive transplant techniques. The performance of hair transplantation is done by surgically removing hair from other areas, such as from the back and sides of the scalp and placing it into the scalp, eyebrows or upper lip. Moreover, hair can be taken from a man's sideburns to create mustache hair when facial hair is missing.

Hair transplant techniques are the only permanent solution to hair loss. After the procedure, the hair that's transplanted and restored should never fall out. Additionally, the hair transplanted can be cut, colored and styled. To our future patients, we look forward to meeting you and offering an array of hair restoration options that suit your individual and personal needs!

Hair Restoration, Surgery and Medical Therapy

Hair transplantation and restoration includes both surgical and medical treatment. Surgery is always performed as an outpatient procedure at a surgery center or hospital when restoring functional hair loss. All surgical procedures are done under one of the following: local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia. It all depends on which modality will aid the patient in minimal to no discomfort, both during and after surgery.

Permanent hair on the back and sides of the scalp, during hair transplant surgery are usually not affected by the hormones that cause hair loss. This is called the donor site, which is transferred to other parts of the scalp where hair is missing (the recipient area). The hair transplanted to these sporadic parts of the scalp will grow in their newly placed location(s). The hair transplanted on the scalp will not disappear like the previous balding areas of hair loss. The reasoning for this change is the type of follicle (not the location) that makes the difference. Follicle Unit Transplantation (FUT), also known as the strip procedure is the process of removing a strip of tissue and dissecting the tissue's follicles. The other method, known as Follicle Unit Extraction (FUE) removes each follicle, individually, one at a time. Overall, both of these procedures are effective, and both have the same performances in inserting the grafts into the top of the scalp. Most importantly, what it all comes down to is what procedure is best for you, the patient!

Hair leaves the scalp in groups called follicles, and each of these follicles produces one to four hairs per follicle. The follicular unit's anatomy is preserved and taken from the surrounding tissue during surgery. Prior to implantation in their new location, these follicular units are isolated and preserved at a cool temperature.

At this point of the process, the artistic ability of the plastic surgeon comes into play. When the performance of the transplantation takes place, the surgeon controls every aspect of this procedure, such as the location, direction and orientation of the follicles. After these follicles are placed in their new location(s), they will continue to grow the same way they were in the original zone. In other words, the follicles have no clue they've been moved!  This causes your new hair to obtain permanent growth in the area to which it was transplanted. In result, this will leave you with a natural-looking hairline that is age appropriate with a designed look to blend in with the patient's facial features. The Atlantic Center Hair Restoration Institute obtains these artistic abilities, while knowing the proper placement and angle of each follicular unit. Moreover, this will reinvent the patient's natural hairline for an undetectable hair restoration.

Hair Restoration is a Combination of Art, Surgery and Medicine

Like most procedures, hair restoration is a very personal thing. With an individual perspective, what type of surgery is for you? What areas do you want or need restored? Lastly, what are your long term expectations? Questions like these turn into personal decisions. Notably, it is crucial in emphasizing what doctor you choose to guide you to the right decision. Today, there are many physicians performing hair restoration surgery. Clearly, hair restoration is a surgical procedure, which makes it very important to pick out a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in this procedure when undergoing this process. With numerous professions in the medical field, there are doctors who are not eligible but are still performing plastic surgery on patients. Dr. Eric J. Stelnicki, M.D. is a board certified plastic surgeon in Broward, Palm Beach and Collier counties who is properly certified and trained in Hair Restoration Surgery.

The Atlantic Center Surgery Hair Restoration Institute offers state-of-the-art services in hair restoration and transplantation. This is a surgical procedure that can rekindle the hope of millions who suffer from hair loss. Our team of doctors, technicians and staff treat every patient as a special individual with an individualized plan. This can be taken into an artistic perspective that no one's physical make-up is the same. We also taken into account that you have become apart of the practice even before stepping into our office, and will be provided with the highest quality care in hair transplant surgery (this includes all other procedures performed at the Atlantic Center). We thoroughly listen to every single one of our patients, and strive to provide our utmost patient artistry with unparalleled results and optimal services. At the Atlantic Center of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, we understand the significance in creating relationships with our patients, their families and loved ones.

The result of hair loss can be an aesthetic or health-related condition. This outcome may not affect your health directly, but it can get in the way of your self-esteem and daily life. When hair restoration becomes a feasible option as a solution with hair loss, it is very important in choosing a clinic that takes full pleasure in patient care and the art of hair restoration. The "artful touch" in this surgical procedure is the ability to create natural-looking hair in locations chosen by both the surgeon and the patient. The Atlantic Center will work with you in determining the most effective way to achieve the most desired, natural-looking results.

Following medical therapy or an operation, the results of hair restoration are usually seen within 6 months. In emphasis to an undetectable hair transplant, it is both minimally invasive with a small degree of scarring. In achieving a truly artistic restoration, we will reduce the scarring in both the donor area and the recipient area.

Typically, the Atlantic Center Hair Restoration Institute performs only one procedure a day, which allows both the surgeon and the technicians to fully dedicate themselves to one, individual patient for the entire procedure. There are several ways in performing a surgery in hair transplantation with specialized techniques that have been adopted in delivering the most natural-looking results. When hair grows in, cutting edge techniques are obtained by using custom-made blades, so the hair follicles lie ontop of each other, giving an undetectable hair transplant and a full head of hair.

Follicle Strip Unit Transplant

The Strip Method

The Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) process at the Atlantic Center Hair Institution is an outpatient procedure. Depending on the patient and the amount of hairs transplanted, surgery times range from three to eight hours. The procedure is nearly painless and can be performed under local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia.

There are two seperate methods of performing hair restoration: The Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), which is also known as strip hair transplant, and the other is called Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).

The Follicular Unit Transplantation procedure is the most reliable way to transplant the highest number of long lasting hairs. It is also one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries performed. Moreover, FUT is the gold standard compared to all the other hair transplant techniques. During this procedure, a strip of tissue is taken from the back of the scalp. The hair follicles are then dissected and transplanted into other desired areas. Hair can be placed on the top of the head, eyebrows and around the beard and mustache areas. The hair on the back of the scalp rarely falls out because it doesn't obtain the receptors for the hormones to shrink and attack the hair, which is the reasoning these hairs are used as donor hairs and become permanent.

Natural Hair Growth on the Scalp

To understand why hair transplantation looks so natural, you must first understand how the hair grows. Hair grows in tiny bundles called "follicular units," which can be seen when using magnification, and looking closely at the natural growing hair. The following explains what's included in the follicular unit:

  • One to four hair follicles
  • One to two villus hairs
  • Sebaceous (oil) glands
  • A small muscle
  • Tiny nerves
  • Blood vessels
  • A band of collagen surrounding the unit

A follicular unit must be kept intact to ensure maximum growth. During the process of genetic balding, healthy hairs are slowly replaced by miniaturized hairs (that are smaller in diameter and length), which eventually fall out.

The results of natural hair transplantation evolve from imitating nature, hair for hair. When carefully relocating the healthy follicular units from the back and sides of the scalp, a natural pattern of hair in the balding areas is recreated. It is a very timely process when this procedure is done properly. This procedure is the only permanent solution for hair loss.

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is the latest treatment in providing a full, natural looking head of hair. It can only be performed through the use of the dissecting microscope for magnification. The use of the magnification and microscope ensures the dissection of the follicular units, while making sure the dissection remains accurate and undamaged. The growth of the restored hair usually starts sooner and more quickly as a result of the follicular units and the scalp experiencing less shock. After the hair is taken from a single strip, the preservation of the follicular unit area during the graft dissection causes the maximization of growth. The microscope dissection makes sure that the individual follicular units aren't damaged during the strip removal.

FUT creates a natural look both at the overall graft distribution and the individual follicular unit level in the hair transplant. It also ensures that each graft will be closely identical to the surrounding follicular units. After the growth of a hair transplant, the results will appear completely natural.

The following lists the advantages of the FUT technique:

  • In the recipient area, there is less damage to any existing hair.
  • There is less post-operative damage.
  • Micro-grafts obtain a slight increase in growth than any other traditional types of grafts.
  • There is no clumping or plugginess produced by micro-grafts.

What makes a good candidate for the FUT procedure?

  • Male and female pattern baldness.
  • Previous hair restoration and transplant surgery.
  • Corrective hair restoration procedures (plug grafts, unnatural appearing grafts, etc.).
  • High hairlines.

Pre-Operative Procedure

Prior to surgery, the staff at the Atlantic Center will obtain the patient's full history and physical examination. Then, we will discuss your goals, expectations and options that are available. We will go over the chosen procedure, review instructions and address any questions you may have for us. Photographs will also be taken during the pre- and post-operative stages of your procedure. After this, the artistic hair plan and design will begin during your consultation.

The design will be based on the following:

  • Problem type
  • Area to be grafted
  • Age of patient
  • Medical condition
  • History of prior scarring

Lastly, after the reviewing and confirmation of the plan the actual surgical procedure will commence.

Surgical Procedure

The following lists the basic steps in most Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) surgeries:

  • Hair Graft Harvest
  • Graft Preparation
  • Transplantation
  • Post-Operative Care

Hair Graft Harvest

This is done following anesthesia of the area and making sure it's completely numb with no possible discomfort. The donor area is located on the back and sides of the scalp, which will be marked, trimmed and anesthetized. During this time, you can relax comfortably and watch a movie. From the permanent zone, a narrow strip(s) of scalp is removed. All follicles are then separated from each other. To minimize scarring, another plastic surgical procedure is performed with a detailed, multilayer closure. After the healing process, the scar is easily hidden by the existing hair.

Dr. Eric J. Stelnicki, M.D. and the Atlantic Center Hair Restoration Institution have utilized his revolutionary South Florida-plasty harvest technique to minimize the post-operative scarring. The method achieves a greater amountof hair for transplantation, while naturally hiding the donor site scars in the hairline. Using advanced plastic surgical suturing techniques, the donor site is closed to ensure optimal healing. Notably, a key part in achieving a great aesthetic result is how the donor site is closed. The Atlantic Center is dedicated and works hard to ensure the scars are hidden in the natural parts and lines. This will decrease the chances  of seeing them after surgery. Generally, sutures are removed within seven days. Dissolving sutures can be used in special situations. The resulting scar from the incision line will be minimized and concealed by your own hair. The artistry of plastic surgery is used to close the donor sites in multiple layers. It makes more hair available for transplantation.

Follicle Graft Preparation

The carefully prepared, follicular unit grafts are tiny, compact structures that contain excess scalp tissue. These grafts fit into tiny incisions that produce little scalp trauma.

The tissues from the donor region are separated into several graft sizes under microscope visualization. During this process, single and mult-hair grafts are created. Each of these grafts are referred to as micro-grafts. On the surface of the scalp, a micro-graft (or FU) refers to a graft that retains natural groupings of hair. Depending on age variation, most FUs occur naturally in two or three haired clusters. The hair graft has an estimated 95% survival rate. In using smaller grafts (with less invasive incisions), there is the ability of larger grafts to be transplanted in one session. Additionally, the smaller grafts can be transplanted closer together.

Next, the donor strip is carefully dissected into miniature slivers under magnification of a stereoscopic microscope. The strips are segmented into follicular units, while each hair is carefully protected to maximize hair growth, follicle utilization and graft acceptance. The largest number of complete and undamaged grafts are made from a given amount of donor tissue.

Then, the follicular units (or "grafts") are positioned with surgical precision into the sites created for them. It varies from person to person on the number of grafts transplanted. Moreover, it depends on how much hair they've lost. Generally, around 2,000 grafts are tansplanted, which have one to three hairs each. Though, it is possible for 4,000 grafts to be transplanted during a single procedure.

There are tiny little slits created by customized instruments and blades where the graft (or follicular unit) is placed. These slits are artistically oriented in a way that mimics the natural hairline and the angle of the hair growth. Then, the follicular unit "graft" is skillfully inserted into the created opening. The grafts and slits are so small that there is minimal disruption in blood circulation.

Post-Operative Care

The surgical procedure generally lasts 3 to 8 hours, which really depends on how much hair is needed for transplantation. After surgery, the patient leaves without any sort of medical bandages to cover the transplanted hair. This is because a closure is performed to generate hair growth inside and along the incision line. This promotes smaller scars and less pain. Even though many patients decide to take two to three days off of work in order for the follicular unit grafts to securely heal, most can return to work the next day. If you are from out of town and traveling for this procedure, you can drive or fly the next day. After surgery, the sutures will be removed after ten days. If needed, your local doctor can remove the sutures if traveling for your procedure.

Close Examination

Even when examined closely, Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation still looks very natural. This procedure replicates natural hair growth, and even after one surgical session, under close inspection it produces natural results. Undergoing additional procedures is only considered to increase the density of the hair transplant or if hair loss progresses. In contrast to mini-micro graft procedures, usually one session won't "stand on its own" and more surgical sessions are required to refine or soften the appearance of the last hair transplant.

Growing New Hair

During the first one to three weeks, the transplanted hair will appear to be rapidly growing. While the follicles are presently in a dormant phase they are actually recovering from the shock of the surgery, and some will be in a falling out process. The hair growth phase will start around three to six months after your surgery. While in this process, the shafts may look thinner with a curly or kinky appearance, and when the hair reaches about one-half inch in length, it will thicken. The slow growth process proves to be beneficial for patients because some of them don't prefer others to perceive a sudden, major change. The benefits of a hair transplant will be apparent after eight months to a year. After a year, there will be around a 90% achievement rate of your total results, and for another year, it will continually thicken.

Mega-Graft

A method of transferring over 6,000 hairs to the alopecia region in one session is known as mega-grafting. With Follicular Unit Transplantation, a very large number of follicles is taken from a larger strip of transplantation. Under a microscope, Dr. Stelnicki separates the grafts, individually. While each graft has about one to three hairs, the mega-grafting takes approximately six to nine hours. Each session, Dr. Stelnicki can transplant up to 3,000 grafts, which results into 6,000-7,000 hairs at a time.

The following lists the advantages of mega-grafting:

  • There's one session of massive hair restoration.
  • Giving high hair density with close approximation of the graft.
  • Avoiding the plug appearance of the hair with the ability to vary graft angle.
  • The procedure can be finished within one session, rather than having to undergo multiple hair transplantation procedural sessions.

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

This second type of hair transplantation is a very popular among non-surgeons because there is no requirements that involve cutting and suturing. This is an attractive option for potential hair transplant patients who shy away from or aren't candidates for the traditional "strip method." The reasoning for this could be the slow recovery time, the possible risk of losing feeling at the incision line or the concern of the small linear scar on the back of the head.

Follicular Unit Extraction (or FUE) is a very popular, evolving hair transplant technique. For this procedure, a small round punch is used in extracting the follicular units, one at a time from bald resistant donor areas. Then the hair groupings (follicular unit grafts) are transplanted into the balding areas of the patient. The reasoning of its increase and popularity is its less invasive nature and its potentially faster healing time.

The FUE grafts are extracted from areas resistant to hair loss on both of the sides and back of the scalp (known as the donor site), using a multiple step process. Following the anesthesia process of the scalp, the follicles are extracted one at a time using specialized instruments. During the FUE process, tissue ranging from 0.7mm to 1.0mm is inserted into the soft tissue surrounding the follicular unit. The tissue that is t aken during FUE envelopes the follicular unit can be extracted by forceps that grip the hair above the surface. Following the extraction of the follicle, the small hole that is left behind will heal over after a few days.

As the tiny wound heals it contracts with a tiny, circular scars in the donor area. During the procedure, these reflect the number of follicular unit grafts extracted from the scalp. The tiny, round white scars are a resulting factor after the FUE surgery, and are normally undetectable to the naked eye. Under a microscope, the individual grafts are then inspected and placed back very gently in the recipient area. This process takes six to twelve hours to successfully transplant about 1,000-2,000 grafts. Also, the transplant method allows a specific selection of grafts, which tailors the procedure to the patient's needs. For example, a larger selection of single hair follicles is used for eyebrow or beard reconstruction in the FUE procedure. This means that only the best suited grafts are chosen for transplantation into the eyebrow or facial beard area. 

The following types of patients may qualify as candidates for the FUE method:

  • Pattern baldness in both selected male and female patients.
  • Previous Hair Restoration and Transplant Surgery.
  • Scars resulting from previous cosmetic or reconstructive surgeries.
  • Facial hair or eyebrow reconstruction or augmentation.
  • Personal choice due to scarring (especially when there are only a few thousand hair follicles that need to be transplanted).
  • When patients want or prefer to cut their hair very short or wish to have a shorter hairstyle (2mm or less).
  • High hairlines.

The following lists the advantages of FUE:

  • The linear scar is not permanent.
  • Healing time is decreased.
  • Post-op activity has fewer limits.
  • An alternative for decreased scalp laxity.
  • A good option for those with poor healing or form keloids.
  • A viable method in repairing donor scar that cannot excised.
  • Ability to "cherry pick" the most desirable size and caliber FU.
  • A shorter preferred hairstyle of 2mm or less.

The performance of the FUE method doesn't involve suturing, and has gained attention among individuals who wish to wear a shorter hairstyle because it doesn't leave a linear scar in the scalp's donor area, unlike the "strip" technique. Usually, FUE removal is performed in the location of random distribution around the donor region. After a single or several sessions, hair will appear less dense upon inspection in the donor area than previously.

Potential for Increased Donor Supply and Body Hair Transplantation (BHT)

FUE extracts follicular units from a wide, varied region (scalp and body). There's the harvesting of follicular units from different areas, such as the scalp, neck areas, chest, beard, arms, legs and other locations of the body where there's donor hair.

Body Hair Transplantation (BHT) is the harvesting of hair from other regions of the body, excluding the scalp. The cycle of body hair grafts is different from scalp hairs, while also maintaining donor characteristics. This method can be used in repair procedures and for hair transplantation, significantly increases the number of available follicular units.

FUE is optimal for small and specialized cases, such as eyebrow reconstruction. The reasoning for this is compared to the FUT method, it's less invasive, more tedious and time consuming. With that, the FUE method is most viable for younger hair transplant patients who require a smaller amount of grafts.

The following lists the disadvantages of FUE:

  • In larger sessions, there are smaller amounts of permanent hairs transplanted for an equal number of hairs.
  • Not consistent in follicle transection, time consuming and more costly.
  • Multiple scars can be produced in patients who form keloids.
  • Hairs can get caught under the skin leading to folliculitis or cysts caused by the punch technique.
  • FUE sessions could become more difficult if there's scarring in the donor area.
  • Not an ideal option for individuals who obtain white or curly hair.
  • During the placement process, the grafts are more fragile and more subject for trauma.

The major disadvantage is sometimes there's difficulty to obtain a large amount of permanent grafts in certain patients. FUT is the best option and gold standard for large graft cases. Moreover, if a larger number of hair follicles are needed, then FUT is the best method if a permanent result is desired. It is believed that FUE mega sessions are bad options in hair transplantation. Additionally, FUE treatments that exceed 2,000 grafts require two to three days to complete. Lastly, too many extractions may lead to a "moth eaten" appearance.

Despite the listed limitations mentioned above, there are specific populations of patients who benefit from the FUE procedure. Those populations include those who don't want a linear scar or don't want requisite scalp laxity, and also those who want to camouflage or eliminate preexisting scarring. It is very rare for FUE to cause damage or pain to the nerves and major blood vessels. During the post-op period, for the first few weeks there are fewer limitations on activities compared to FUT (the strip method). Sometimes, after FUT surgery there can be a complication where the scalp feels too tight, resulting from the suturing of the scalp. In rare cases, this can cause permanent numbness in the scalp region where the strip was removed. Though, Follicular Unit Extraction is more expensive and time consuming that Follicular Unit Transplantation.

These methods in hair restoration should be performed by a board certified plastic surgeon who understands the artistry and special techniques of the procedure. The main challenge stems from the angle of the hair, under the region of the skin. Dr. Stelnicki must determine the angle of each graft before extracting it. Both FUE and FUT methods allow for the best choice in hair grafts that best suit the area to be filled. The grafts are also chosen by desired density. For example, if hair is needed for the back region of the scalp then thicker hairs are used in the process.

To schedule a consultation with our hair transplant experts in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Weston, Boynton Beach, or Naples to help you get the look you desire, or for more information call us today at (954) 983-1899 or request an appointment online.

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