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Pictures, Causes, and Removal of a Buffalo Hump

Buffalo Hump Pictures


What is Buffalo Hump?

Buffalo hump is also referred to as dorsocervical fat pad and is described as an accumulation of fat in between shoulders particularly behind the neck. It is mostly a symptom of quite a few of an underlying medical condition and is also among the type of a condition known as lipodystrophy. Generally, buffalo hump is not a serious or life-threatening condition but rather a telltale sign of an existing underlying condition. It is therefore necessary to seek an early diagnosis to identify the cause of buffalo hump which can be serious or potentially life-threatening.

Lipodystrophy is a condition that involves the adipose tissue characterized by the aberration or changes in its distribution, production and the capacity to store the adipose tissue in the dorsocervical fat pad. Buffalo hump is among the type of this condition involving the adipose tissue.

Adipose tissue is a loose connective tissue that is mainly composed of adipocytes and is drawn from preadipocytes. The adipose tissue plays an important role in storing energy in the form of lipids to be burned later on to meet the demands of energy need of the body while it also insulates the body to maintain a body temperature. The adipose tissue can be located in the beneath the skin, around the internal organs, breast tissue and in the bone marrow. It also functions in protecting the internal organs in which it enveloped and serving as a protective pad. The adipose tissue can be found in almost any part of the body and each has its own characteristics although all types have the same role and function in the human body.

The effects of buffalo hump in an individual depend on the severity of the condition. A small hump usually has a mild or minor annoyance. Larger hump tends to be annoying and can affect the quality of life of an affected individual. Wearing of clothes could prove to be a dilemma as it can interfere with any types of clothes an individual chooses to wear. It may cause embarrassment and affect t the self-esteem of an individual. It is therefore necessary to reduce if not eliminate the accumulation of fat behind the neck.


The buffalo hump can be smaller and may occur unnoticeable from the outside while it can grow big or large enough to be noticed and interfere with the daily activities.

The distinguishing sign of a buffalo hump is the elevation of a bump on the back of the neck situated in between the shoulders where the onset may seem odd or unusual. Buffalo hump may also be accompanied with a bulging fat in the belly and fat accumulation in the face. Extreme obesity may accompany buffalo hump with fat accumulation in the buttocks, thighs, arms and chest and with enlargement of the breasts.

Other symptoms of buffalo hump depend on the underlying condition that caused its development. An endocrine association of buffalo hump has symptoms such as:

  • An elevation in blood sugar level
  • Elevated level of cholesterol in the body
  • Excessive growth of hair on the body and face
  • Swelling and redness of the face
  • Hypertension
  • Frequent desire to urinate
  • General body weakness


Buffalo hump has no definite cause and is implicated in various reasons and underlying conditions. Such causes of buffalo hump include the following:

Hormonal imbalance is the most common cause of buffalo hump. The elevation in the levels of cortisol released by the adrenal glands resulted to the excessive accumulation of fat.

Extreme obesity is also considered as among the common cause of buffalo hump. The condition of obesity can have the adipose tissue to accumulate in many parts of the body with visible bulging and which can also accumulate in the hump behind the neck and in between the shoulders.

Cushing syndrome is a hormonal disorder that resulted from prolonged exposure to high levels of cortisol. The condition is characterized by obesity in the upper body, rounded face with fat accumulation and fat accumulation around the areas of the neck while the arms and legs tend to be thinner.

Medication of oral corticosteroids such as prednisone, hydrocortisone and medications meant for AIDS can result to buffalo hump as an adverse effect.

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The treatment of buffalo hump is directed towards the underlying condition that triggered the onset.

Reduction in drug intake of oral corticosteroid or reducing its dosage is advised as the primary action in treating buffalo hump caused by the adverse reaction of medication being taken. Buffalo hump that resulted from obesity can be remedied with a change in lifestyle by undertaking a healthy dietary plan that can facilitate body toning and lessen the accumulation of body fats.

Buffalo hump that resulted from the condition of HIV or AIDS can be treated with non-nucleoside in reversing the transcriptase inhibitors. A protease inhibitor drug used for the treatment of HIV or AIDS can affect the metabolism of the body and instead places fat in the body. This process results in an abnormal accumulation of fat in various areas of the body including the buffalo hump. A reduction in the dosage of Protease inhibitors may be recommended depending on the overall health status of the patient and the response to the medication.


Cosmetic surgery is an option for buffalo hump removal when the hump has become large enough to cause nuisance and discomfort to the affected individual.

Liposuction for buffalo hump removal is also another method of removing the accumulated fat behind the neck. The method of fat removal utilizes suction and a cannula inserted into the tiny cuts created on the skin.

The drawback of surgical removal on the other hand is in its recurrence. The buffalo hump may tend to recur unless the underlying condition causing it is treated appropriately.


Buffalo hump caused by obesity is recommended to have a change in lifestyle where an affected individual is advised to take a healthy dietary plan. The change in lifestyle however may not be enough if it is not accompanied or combined with a regular exercise to help burn unnecessary fats in the body.

Aerobic exercise is the best form of exercise to eliminate extra pounds and fats in the body. It is a physical exercise that involves repetitive movement of the large muscles of the arms, legs and hips.

Weight and resistance training is a good way to build muscles and reduce the appearance of buffalo hump. This form of exercise strengthens the muscles of the upper body including the muscles in the neck and in the shoulders and increases the muscle mass which makes it easier to burn off unwanted fats in the body.


Toni on June 30, 2019:

Olivia did yours ever go as I was told the same but I’ve lost weight around my back and chest but the lump has stayed

Olivia on December 18, 2015:

I have a big one.. I went to the doctors and had to have a MRI scan, I got told its only a fatty lump that will go away on its own..

It is now hurting and getting bigger I will be going back to the doctors to get it checked out again!

Jen on June 24, 2015:

I have the same problem. I don't like it. I would like to get rid of it once an for all!

Val on March 21, 2015:

I am 14 and I have a small bump behind my neck and when I touch it it's soft so I guess it fact but I don't have any money to go to a doctor

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