How Can My Webbed Neck Deformity be Fixed?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am 26 years old and I have lived with a webbed neck birth defect all my life. I would like to have a normal length neck for looks as well as for pain. The last doctor I saw said I had short tight trapezious muscles and they actually hurt I have limited rotation with my neck so when turning it pulls a great amount and does not feel good. I saw your website and seen a picture of a woman who had a neck lift and her neck looked slighty webbed and looked ALOT better in the after picture, I’m not sure if the neck lift will completely help my case but I’m hoping you can lead me in the right direction to get what I need done.

A: I have taken a look at your pictures and see your neck concerns. While you do not have the classic web neck deformity that appears in Turner’s syndrome, I do see your concerns about the shorter and wider neck. What is different about your webbed neck from that of Turner’s syndrome is that in Turner’s the webbed neck is largely skin folds. Yours is largely a combined skin fold and trapezius muscle. That means your webbed neck would be much harder to move because of the muscle composition. It would be necessary to release some of the trapezius muscle to be able to narrow your neck and move/lift the skin backwards to get a visible correction. It is certainly doable but the muscle release would certainly cause some discomfort after surgery.

Whether this procedure would really be worthwhile would require an actual examination for me to feel the neck tissues and see how much I think they can be moved.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana