Medically known as a dorsocervical fat pad, a buffalo hump is a fat deposit located at the base of the neck, between the shoulder blades. There are several potential reasons someone may develop a buffalo hump including certain medications, excess weight gain, underlying medical issues, or poor posture and osteoporosis.
A buffalo hump on its own isn’t necessarily a serious medical issue, but it can be a sign of an underlying problem and should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
What Causes Buffalo Humps?1
A buffalo hump may be caused by excess weight gain. If no other underlying issues, this can be treated cosmetically.
Certain medications such as corticosteroids, prednisone, cortisone, and hydrocortisone used for an extended period can cause fat to build up behind the shoulders which creates a buffalo hump. They can also be caused by certain HIV medications.
Cushing’s syndrome is rare condition that occurs when your body makes too much cortisol either on its own or due to certain medications, such as corticosteroids.
A rarer condition that most often occurs in men aged 30-70 who have an alcohol use disorder, but women and those who do not drink may get it as well. It can cause fatty tumors or unusual buildup of fat around the neck and shoulders or hips, thighs, etc.
Can You Get Rid of Buffalo Humps with Diet & Exercise?
It is always recommended to attempt to lose excess fat with diet and exercise first; however, it is impossible to spot treat specific areas – including buffalo humps. Often, it will be very challenging to get rid of a buffalo hump through diet and exercise alone, but especially true if your buffalo hump is due to medications or another medical reason which would need to be treated first.
Buffalo Hump Removal Liposuction
As mentioned, if your buffalo hump is caused by an underlying medical condition or medication, then that should be addressed with your doctor first. But if you’ve spoken with your healthcare provider and it has been determined that your buffalo hump is not caused by a medical condition (or the medical condition or medication has been managed appropriately) and it is simply caused by a buildup of fat due to obesity or weight gain then liposuction may be a good option for your buffalo hump removal.
Like many of the common liposuction treatment areas that are predisposed to excess fat, diet and exercise alone may not be enough to achieve your goals, especially for an area as specific as a buffalo hump. Liposuction of the upper back is an effective surgical method to reduce the size and contour the shape of the back to reduce or eliminate the appearance of a buffalo hump.
Because buffalo humps can be caused by a variety of different reasons including more serious underlying conditions, an in-person consultation is necessary to determine if you are a good candidate for buffalo hump liposuction.
- Kahn, April. Medically Reviewed by William Morrison, MD. (2019). “Hump Behind the Shoulders”. https://www.healthline.com/health/hump-behind-the-shoulders