turkey neck

Will Exercise Get Rid of a “Turkey Neck”?

Can I get rid of the wrinkles and sagging skin on my neck with exercise or do I need neck lift surgery?

By this point, most of us have spent at least some time on a Zoom call. While this will never feel the same as getting together in person, it has been a wonderful sort of stopgap that has enabled us to stay connected with family, friends, and co-workers while trying to practice social distancing. 

Also, by now, we’re all aware of the shock that came with seeing our own image on that screen and realizing that is how others see us all the time. Facelifts, nose surgery, and dental implants now top to-do lists all over the world. But, for many of us, those haven’t been the only surprises that were waiting to be magnified on our computer screens. No matter what angle we try to lift or turn our heads, there is no way to disguise the wrinkly, sagging skin on our necks. Or to prevent the dreaded “turkey neck” or, worse, “turkey wattle” to reverberate in our thoughts.   

Oddly enough, the effects of aging on our necks can often sneak up on us. As we look in the mirror each day, we cannot help but take note of the effect that time has had on our faces. The neck is, of course, going through the same process, but, for whatever reason, we don’t always pay as much attention as we do to the face. Rather, that is the case until seeing ourselves in photos or on Zoom. All of a sudden, we are likely unable to focus on anything else. Typical characteristics of aging that become increasingly apparent on the neck include:

  • saggy skin and the accumulations of fat resulting in heavy jowls
  • puffiness under the chin, also from fatty deposits
  • loose skin hanging from beneath the neck
  • muscle banding, technically platysma banding, which is what gives rise to the comparison with a turkey’s neck

Exercise or Neck Lift Surgery?

We may not be able to slow down the clock, but there are always options when it comes to dealing with the effects of time. When it comes to the neck and wanting to do something to restore it to a more youthful appearance, some turn to exercises targeting the neck. Exercising the neck muscles, as with all muscles, is a good thing. When done consistently, it can improve tone, as well as blood circulation. What it cannot do is eliminate excess skin, which is a major concern for many.  

Neck lift surgery is designed to smooth and tighten the skin on the neck. This is accomplished by combining two procedures; cervicoplasty and platysmaplasty. During cervicoplasty, the excess skin is removed and then platysmaplasty is performed to surgically reconstruct the neck muscles.

Done on an outpatient basis, neck lifts typically take two to three hours under general anesthesia or with local anesthesia combined with sedation. Signs of swelling and bruising may be present for roughly ten days and incision lines will gradually fade, typically gone within six months. Individuals are able to resume normal activities in about two weeks. 

Dr. Brian D. Cohen is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive training in cosmetic/reconstructive plastic surgery and has had years of experience performing a wide array of cosmetic surgery procedures, specializing in procedures of the face, eyes, nose, breast, and body and is known for his exemplary and compassionate care by his patients. Knowing that Dr. Cohen has been selected by his peers in Super Doctors for 9 years in a row in 2021 gives you the confidence that he is highly respected for his performance in his specialty.

Information on locations and office hours for Cohen Plastic Surgery can be found by clicking here