Can Webbed Neck Surgery Improve My Neck Tightness?

Q: Dr. Eppley ,Good morning,I’ve searched treatment for webbed neck and came across your website. I’m 49 years old and have lived with webbed neck all of my life and it’s getting unbearable in every day life. It’s starting to pull my face down and range of motion is getting worse.

I’ve tried myofascial release, massage, chiropractor and physical therapy with little to no relief. I would like more information on the procedure if you think surgical intervention would be the best option for me.

A:”Traditional’ webbed neck surgery is done for its aesthetic effect on pulling in the webs…which by the way it is done I would think may worsen your musculofascial symptoms. (which most webbed neck patients in my experience do not have) I think what you may be seeking/asking is whether the webs can be released at the fascial/trapezius muscle level which would probably be the only technique that could potentially provide symptomatic relief. This could be done but would require a more direct approach at the tightest point of the web. (see attached, white arrow) To do so would require a direct incision along  the line of the web, whether it is a straight line or Z-plasty can be debated. (see attached, purple lines) By this approach the muscle/fascia can be back cut which should theoretically break some of the line of contracture.

While this direct approach is never done in traditional webbed neck surgery, because of the scars,  your case may be one of the rare indications for it given your symptoms.

Dr. Barry Eppley

World-Renowned Plastic Surgeon