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Buffalo Hump

buffalo_hump.jpg (67214 bytes)The Buffalo Hump is an accumulation of fat on the back of the neck and upper back. This condition can occur with oversecretion of cortisone by the adrenal gland, a condition called Cushing's syndrome.

A buffalo hump by itself is not diagnostic of any one condition. It must be considered in light of other signs, symptoms, and tests.

Click on the thumbnail image for a larger view.


Common causes:
extended use of some steroids (glucocorticoids such as prednisone, cortisone, and hydrocortisone)
extreme obesity
hypercortisolism (caused by Cushing's syndrome)
Note: There may be other causes of a hump behind the shoulders. This list is not all inclusive, and the causes are not presented in order of likelihood. The causes of this symptom can include unlikely diseases and medications. Furthermore, the causes may vary based on age and gender of the affected person, as well as on the specific characteristics of the symptom such as time course, aggravating factors, relieving factors, and associated complaints.


Home care:

If a buffalo hump is due to medication such as steroid use, ask your health care provider about discontinuing, changing, or reducing the medication dosage.
NEVER CHANGE MEDICATION WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.
For extreme obesity, diet and exercise can help you to lose weight.
Call your health care provider if there is an unexplained buffalo hump.


What to expect at your health care provider's office:
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.
Medical history questions documenting your symptom in detail may include:
What medications are you taking?
Are you overweight?
Are you female?
How old are you?
Have you been evaluated for osteoporosis?
What other symptoms are present?
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:
arteriography
blood tests (such as CBC, or blood differential)
urine tests (such as urinalysis)
bronchography
CT scan of the skull
CT scan of the abdomen and adrenal glands
MRI of the skull
endocrine studies
cortisol level
dexamethasone suppression test
ultrasonography
visual field testing
X-rays of the chest


After seeing your health care provider:
If a diagnosis was made by your health care provider related to a buffalo hump, you may want to note that diagnosis in your personal medical record.




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