Is "tech neck" a real phenomenon or just a gimmick designed to grab headlines. The answer depends wholly on whom you ask - and also on your mirror.
Tech neck is a farce, says Joseph Niamtu, III, DMD, a cosmetic surgeon in Midlothian, VA. "People have been looking down at books, assembly lines and sleeping with their neck bent for millennia. I think a farmer or waterman 100 years ago that was out in the sun and looking down at the ground or water all day had more wrinkles than a smart phone addict."
Saving Your Neck
Rich Castellano, MD, a facial plastic surgeon in private practice in Tampa and The Villages, Fla. begs to differ. "Tech Neck is a real phenomenon, though this is nothing new," he says. "Tech neck has gone undiagnosed for many years now before the selfie revolution. Looking down to check your email certainly does accentuate neck wrinkles and make the face look unflattering."
New data from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) backs this up. The organization's annual survey found that as many as one in three facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in requests for procedures due to our collective selfie awareness.
In truth, Castellano says, "It probably doesn't age us any faster, though there is quite an urgency to treat it. I have never met anyone who can do a Google Hangout chat while looking up."
People do call his office when, after face-timing with family, their grandkids start asking questions about their neck wrinkles and sagging skin that are more obvious on their high-tech displays. "Today's cosmetically self-actualized techies are calling on either photoshop or cosmetic surgeons to correct this blight on their otherwise flawless yet quirky homepages," Castellano says.
Anatomy of a Techie's Neck
The tech neck wrinkle is found mostly in younger people aged 18 to 39 who spy a skin crease as they spend more time online than in actual social situations. "The simple treatment is adjusting expectations, better lighting or if all else fails they can use one of many fillers to plump and soften the depth of cavernous neck wrinkles," he says. Ultherapy® is one solution. By using ultrasound to stimulated the deep structural support layers of the skin, this treatment is FDA cleared for a neck and under-chin lift, without surgery.
Tech Waddle Neck: This is 40?
By contrast, tech waddle neck is more prominent in the over 40 sect especially those whose headshots are posted on Match.com. "This is just the beginning of the aging neck, and often is not noticeable in live, non-virtual face-to-face interactions," he says. "One may need to consider ultrasound energy, radiofrequency tightening, or laser lipolysis [as] these electronically-delivered treatments are all the more desirable by giving even more tech-credibility to those with all but the widest of streaming bandwidths."
According to New York facial plastic surgeon Sam Rizk, "The best way to address an aging neck is with surgical intervention. We can remove excess fat, tighten slack muscles and excise extra skin to firm and rejuvenate the neck through very small incisions, and the results last for five to ten years."
The more extreme "tech Turkey Neck" is obvious in all social situations, online or otherwise and may require a combination of aesthetic procedures to achieve optimum results on social media platforms, and hold back the years.
--additional reporting by Denise Mann
Wendy Lewis is President of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd Global Aesthetics Consultancy, author of 11 books and Founder/Editor in Chief of http://www.beautyinthebag.com
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