Hair loss not just a men's issue: How surgery changed a Valley woman's life

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(Source: 3TV/CBS5) (Source: 3TV/CBS5)
PHOENIX (3TV) -

Almost every woman cares about her hair, and when it's not right, it can mess with your confidence.

Not too long ago, Ginette Weiner wasn't happy with her reflection.

"I couldn't look in the mirror anymore at my hair," said Weiner.

The 65-year-old woman says time was taking its toll.

"I can live with a few wrinkles, but when I started looking in the mirror and started having balding where I could actually see my scalp on the sides, and my hairline was receding, and my enormous forehead was getting even larger, it made me feel horrible. It made me feel old," Weiner describes.

Nearly as many women experience hair loss and thinning as men, but not a lot of women are talking about it.

"I don't know why. Hair loss makes you feel guilty and ashamed as if there's something wrong with you. People would look at me with a lot of sympathy, but not saying much," explains Weiner.

She combed through a ton of information and found the answer to her problem.

"I came across Dr. Keene and I was just totally blown away. She's a bonafide surgeon. She publishes articles. She's the real deal," Weiner said.

Dr. Sharon Keene is an internationally-recognized pioneer and highly-regarded expert in the hair transplant industry.

"When a woman has had only a small area of the hairline affected or receding back and if it's not caused by inflammation, and it's caused just by the gradual aging process, those are very good candidates for surgery, as are women who've had some forms of cosmetic surgery," Dr. Keene explained.

Dr. Keene transplanted Weiner's hair from the back of her head to the front along her hairline. For Ginette Weiner, it was a transformation both inside and out.

"It has given me back my life, and I know that sounds extreme, but that is exactly the way I feel," describes Weiner.

Dr. Keene says women with thinning hair make up 10 percent of her practice at Physician's Hair Institute in Phoenix and Tucson. She says the embarrassing condition is complicated and can be caused by a number of different factors.

"It can be caused by metabolic abnormalities, hormonal abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, medications. It can be caused by stress, illness, or just a particular emotional stress," Dr. Keene explained.

She says that's why surgery can't help every woman and she warns about quick fixes and false promises from people who are not experts in hair restoration.

"It is a concern to those of us in the field that there are casual clinics popping up, promising to regrow hair for patients.
 It's very important that anyone who is wanting an assessment and wanting to treat their hair loss, go to somebody who's actually knowledgeable about the field, not simply someone who owns a machine that they can use to redistribute hair.

Dr. Keene says the fallout from these types of clinics is a loss of trust and a waste of time and money.

"I've had patients who've come to my office and told me they spent thousands of dollars on lasers, and it didn't do a thing for them. I'm very disappointed when I hear that," says Dr. Keene.

For women like Ginette Weiner, the right doctor and the right treatment made all the difference in the world.

"I can look in the mirror now. I feel good about my hair. They're growing like mad. It's a perfectly natural hairline, and it's thick. It's amazing," said Weiner.

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