Are you self-conscious about a soft tissue prominence at your upper back?  You may have an enlarged dorsocervical fat pad, which is commonly referred to as a buffalo hump.  This bulge at the lower neck region between the shoulders may affect range of motion and contribute to poor posture.  It may be frustrating when traditional diet and exercise are not effective in addressing this localized fatty deposit.  Buffalo hump removal is offered by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stephanie Power, so here’s what to expect as you schedule your consultation.

What Causes a Buffalo Hump?

A buffalo hump sign may be related to an underlying medical condition or medication, so it’s important to first discuss with your health care provider.  It may be a side effect of different medications, including steroids as well as certain treatments for HIV/AIDS.   Other cases may be related to obesity, genetic disorders, and alcohol use.  Addressing the underlying cause may reduce the prominence of the buffalo hump.  If your buffalo hump persists following non-surgical management, surgery may be an option.

What Happens During Buffalo Hump Removal?

Two options for buffalo hump removal are liposuction vs. direct excision.  Liposuction is an effective technique to improve the contour of the upper back and neck while minimizing scarring.  While there are different types of liposuction, often the most effective in addressing the buffalo hump is power-assisted liposuction since the tissue is quite fibrous.  Direct excision is another option to remove the buffalo hump, whereby the prominent fatty tissue is excised through an overlying incision.  It is effective in removing the excess fatty tissue, however it results in more prominent scarring than liposuction.   Both surgeries may be performed under local or general anesthetic, which depends on buffalo hump size and other factors.  Dr. Power will discuss the best technique for you following consultation and clinical examination.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Surgery?

Most patients are able to return to office-based work within a week of surgery.  A longer recovery period may be recommended if your work is more strenuous.  It is generally recommended to refrain from exercise for one month post-operatively.  A compression garment should be worn full-time except when showering for the first 6 weeks as swelling resolves.   Swelling gradually improves and the overlying skin will contract.  While you will notice immediate contour improvement, final results will become apparent by one year post-operatively.

How Long Does Buffalo Hump Removal Last?

Risk of recurrence of a buffalo hump depends on the underlying cause.  Managing the underlying medical condition may lower the risk of recurrence.  It may also be possible to modify certain medications – either treatment using an alternative medication or altering the medication dose – which is important to discuss with your health care provider based on your unique case.

Request a Consultation

To discuss the most effective surgery for your buffalo hump, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Stephanie Power at our Toronto office by calling or filling out our online form.

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