Buffalo Hump or Cervicodorsal Fat Pad

Justin Yovino, MD, FACS
Article by
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon


A “buffalo hump” is also known as a cervicodorsal fat pad or lipodystrophy.  This is an increase in fibrous fatty tissue over the lower neck and upper back that can result in a hunchback look.  It is associated with different diseases and medications.  Unfortunately, the hump is not concealed with clothing or well-hidden by any other means.   The excess fatty deposit is also associated with symptoms of neck restriction, neck and upper back discomfort, and localized pain.  Neck extension and rotation limitations can be found even with small humps.  Patients frequently have visited a chiropractor to help treat the neck and back pain, to no avail. 

The removal of the hump is best approached with suction-assisted lipectomy.  This is also commonly known as liposuction and will lead to dramatic results immediately.  The excessive fatty tissue is usually firmer than other areas of the body that are contoured with liposuction.   This finding has led to the preferred use of additional technology during the procedure to help loosen up the fat prior to liposuction.  These advancements include ultrasound-assisted liposuction and more recently, laser-assisted liposuction.  Applying this newer technology to the operation has allowed for almost invisible incisions, smaller instruments, less anesthesia, faster recovery, less bruising and swelling, and very little downtime. Most patients only require light intravenous or oral sedation and local anesthetic  and return to work or normal activities in a day or so. 
Some medical insurance carriers are aware of the problems associated with the condition and will cover the removal by liposuction.