In the last decade the usage of mobile devices has increased astronomically, in turn increasing the risk for cosmetically altering the physical appearance of the neck. This anomaly is now commonly known as “Tech Neck,” a condition where the neck appears wrinkled or creased. Plastic Surgery Practice sat down with New York City-based and board-certified plastic surgeon, Richard Westreich, MD, FACS, to discuss the influx of patients seeking cosmetic solutions to alleviate the effects of “Tech Neck.”
Plastic Surgery Practice: What exactly is “Tech Neck?”
Richard Westreich: There are two issues that this refers: The first is more medical. It’s a result of strain on the paraspinal musculature and spine. This can result in headaches, neck pain, or even numbness or weakness of the extremities. The other is more cosmetic and relates to deep horizontal wrinkles in the neck as well as loss of jawline contour. Both are the result of prolonged posturing with the neck flexed in order to look at a laptop or cell phone at waist or lower chest level.
PSP: What do you think is leading the surge?
Westreich: Increased use and prolonged use of portable devices is the cause of Tech Neck.
PSP: Are you seeing an influx of patients who are exhibiting the effects of Tech Neck? What is leading them to seek help?
Westreich: There is definitely an increase in patients looking for cosmetic solutions for Tech Neck. Younger patients, especially those without wrinkles elsewhere, can be distressed by the appearance of deep wrinkles in the neck. This is what is driving them to seek treatment.
PSP: From your perspective, what are the best procedures to combat the cosmetic effects?
Westreich: Tech Neck is similar to other wrinkles in that skin tightening, resurfacing, and filler can be used to treat it. Unfortunately, botox has no role in treating tech neck.
PSP: What are the most common interventions or treatments you use?
Westreich: Typically, we use filler with some form of skin tightening, whether that is surface radiofrequency, or microneedling with radiofrequency. In severe cases, we may employ resurfacing techniques, such as microneedling or chemical peels, and even subdermal heating treatments, like Facetite.
PSP: What outcomes are you observing after treatment?
Westreich: Patients are generally happy after treatment and often do not require re-treatment.
PSP: How do treatments for Tech Neck hold up over time?
Westreich: I have not had to treat many patients a second time for Tech Neck. It is possible that it takes years to develop, so stay tuned. PSP