What causes webbed neck and how to treat it?

Symptom Database

A webbed neck, also known as a neck deformity or congenital neck condition, is a relatively rare condition characterized by excess skin folds on the sides of the neck. This abnormality can be present at birth or develop over time. It is often associated with other neck abnormalities and can cause physical and psychological discomfort for those affected. In this article, we will explore the causes of webbed neck and discuss various treatment options available.

Causes of Webbed Neck

The primary cause of webbed neck is a genetic mutation that affects the development of the neck during embryonic growth. This mutation leads to an excessive amount of skin in the neck area, resulting in the appearance of webbing. The specific gene responsible for this condition is called the TCOF1 gene, and mutations in this gene are associated with a condition known as Treacher Collins syndrome.

Treacher Collins syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects the development of facial bones and tissues. In addition to webbed neck, individuals with Treacher Collins syndrome may also have underdeveloped cheekbones, small jaw, and downward-slanting eyes. The severity of the condition can vary widely among affected individuals.

Treatment for Webbed Neck

While webbed neck cannot be completely cured, there are several treatment options available to manage the condition and improve the appearance of the neck. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the webbing and the individual’s specific needs and preferences.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be beneficial for individuals with webbed neck as it helps improve neck mobility and strengthen the surrounding muscles. A physical therapist can design a customized exercise program to target specific areas of concern and help alleviate any discomfort or pain associated with the condition.

Neck Exercises

Performing regular neck exercises can help stretch and strengthen the neck muscles, reducing the appearance of webbing. These exercises may include neck rotations, side bends, and chin tucks. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist before starting any exercise regimen to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Orthotic Devices

In some cases, orthotic devices such as neck braces or collars may be recommended to provide support and improve neck alignment. These devices can help reduce the prominence of webbing and improve overall neck posture.

Surgical Intervention

In severe cases of webbed neck, surgical intervention may be necessary to correct the deformity. The specific surgical procedure will depend on the individual’s unique circumstances and may involve removing excess skin, repositioning muscles, or reconstructing the neck area. It is important to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon or reconstructive surgeon to discuss the potential risks and benefits of surgery.

Living with Webbed Neck

Living with webbed neck can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. It is important for individuals with this condition to seek support from healthcare professionals, support groups, and loved ones. Here are some tips for managing and coping with webbed neck:

  • Practice good posture to minimize the appearance of webbing.
  • Wear clothing and accessories that draw attention away from the neck area.
  • Engage in activities that boost self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Seek counseling or therapy to address any emotional or psychological challenges associated with the condition.
  • Connect with others who have similar experiences through support groups or online communities.

Remember, webbed neck is a physical characteristic and does not define a person’s worth or abilities. It is important to focus on overall well-being and embrace one’s unique qualities.


Webbed neck is a congenital neck condition characterized by excess skin folds on the sides of the neck. It is primarily caused by a genetic mutation and is often associated with Treacher Collins syndrome. While webbed neck cannot be cured, various treatment options such as physical therapy, neck exercises, orthotic devices, and surgical intervention can help manage the condition and improve the appearance of the neck. It is important for individuals with webbed neck to seek support and adopt strategies to enhance self-confidence and overall well-being.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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