A conspicuous fat hump on the back of the neck between the shoulder blades can be more than just a cosmetic problem. This condition, known medically as a dorsocervical fat pad or colloquially as a “Buffalo Hump,” can have various causes and potential health implications.
In this article, we will delve into what causes a fat hump on the back of the neck, explore underlying causes, discuss the problems it can cause, and examine both surgical and non-surgical treatment options.
What Is a Buffalo Hump?
This term refers to an abnormal accumulation of fat in the upper back and neck regions, resulting in a noticeable bulge or hump on the back of the neck. This condition typically occurs between the shoulder blades and at the base of the neck. While it can affect anyone, it is more commonly observed in individuals living with certain medical conditions.
Causes of A Fat Hump
A hump of fat in this area of the body is usually associated with medical syndromes or conditions such as:
- Cushing’s Syndrome
- One of the primary causes of this excess fat accumulation is an overproduction of cortisol, often seen in Cushing’s syndrome. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to fat redistribution, resulting in the accumulation of fat in this area.
- Long-Term Steroid Use
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, whether prescribed for medical conditions or used illicitly, can also contribute to the development of a noticeable back of the neck fat hump.
- Lipodystrophy Syndromes
- These refer to a collection of uncommon syndromes that result in an uneven distribution of fat throughout the body. This means that individuals with lipodystrophy may experience a fat loss in certain areas while gaining it in others. Some lipodystrophy syndromes may cause fat to accumulate in this region.
- Excess body weight and obesity can lead to fat buildup in various areas of the body, including the upper back, creating a visible hump on the back of the neck.
Problems Associated With A Buffalo Hump
- Cosmetic concerns: The noticeable bulge on the upper back between the shoulder blades can lead to feelings of self-consciousness and worry about physical appearance. People with this condition may find themselves uncomfortable wearing certain clothing, such as low-necked tops or form-fitting dresses, which can draw attention to the hump;
- Discomfort and pain: The hump can cause physical discomfort, neck pain, and restricted mobility due to its size and weight. In some rare cases, they can cause numbness by pressing on nerves;
- Psychological impact: Individuals with this abnormality may experience emotional distress and body negativity due to the stigma associated with this condition. Social situations may become sources of anxiety, causing some individuals to shy away from events or gatherings that could highlight their appearance.
Non-Surgical Treatments For Eliminating A Fat Hump
- Lifestyle Modifications
- For those dealing with a fat hump caused by obesity, shedding some pounds may be effective in reducing some of the fat buildup in that area. Unfortunately, many times this fat hardens, and only surgical intervention will effectively address it.
- Medication Management
- In cases where Buffalo Hump is associated with conditions like Cushing’s syndrome, medical management to regulate cortisol levels may be recommended.
- Physical therapy
- PT sessions might be advised, incorporating tailored exercises to alleviate discomfort, enhance posture, and bolster the strength of the neck and back.
- This surgical procedure can suck the fat out of the hump. There are various types of liposuction available; however, power-assisted liposuction (PAL) is often considered the most effective option due to the fibrous nature of the tissue that is usually found within the hump. During a PAL procedure, a special tool called a cannula is connected to a device that uses suction power and is used to remove the fat from the hump. This is the classic liposuction procedure that many people are familiar with. VASER liposuction is a cutting-edge technique that may be suitable for correcting a buffalo hump because it utilizes ultrasound waves to target and eliminate stubborn fat deposits, offering enhanced precision and more targeted contouring.
- In some cases, surgical excision may be necessary to remove the fat pad. This procedure is typically reserved for severe cases or when liposuction is not suitable. During this procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area, and the surgeon creates an incision, removes the dorsocervical fat pad, and then closes the incision. This method is associated with visible scarring.
- Combination Procedures
- Surgeons may recommend a blend of the two above techniques for superior outcomes, particularly in cases where the hump exhibits considerable size or fibrous composition.
Having a visible fat hump on the back of the neck can take an emotional toll as well as be aesthetically unpleasing. The good news is that the experts at SurgiCare Arts & Aesthetics are experts in eliminating this condition.
Most often, this condition can be addressed through a quick session of liposuction or an excision if necessary. The professionals at SurgiCare Arts & Aesthetics understand how this protrusion might create both physical and emotional distress, and we want you to know that you do not have to live with that discomfort. We are here to help you regain both your physical and emotional well-being.
Contact us today and speak with one of our caring team members to learn more about how we can free you from a buffalo hump and leave a more well-defined neck and upper back area in its place.