An accumulation of fat on the back of the neck or on the upper back is called a buffalo hump. It can be caused by your body over-secreting cortisol (Cushing's syndrome), by obesity and by the use of steroids, including cortisone, hydrocortisone and glucocorticoids.
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Undergo ultrasonic-assisted tumescent liposuction using micro-cannulas. Accumulating fat on the back of the neck or on the mid-upper-back when you're very overweight or have Cushing's syndrome is common. The area of the body on which the fat forms is the cervico-dorsal hump; liposuction of the dorsal hump may help. The safest liposuction for this condition is tumescent liposuction using micro-cannulas; other types of liposuction can burn the skin and cause scarring.
Consult with your doctor. If you have Cushing's syndrome and are developing a buffalo hump, she may be able to lower your steroid dosage (steroids are taken for Cushing's syndrome because they lower the level of cortisol).
Opt for surgery. If your problem is caused by a pituitary tumour, the surgery will be performed through your nose. If the tumour is present elsewhere, your surgeon will perform a standard operation in that area of the body. Most tumours caused by Cushing's are noncancerous and found in the pituitary gland. However, cancerous tumours can appear outside of the pituitary gland in areas such as the lungs, thyroid and pancreas. A tumour can also arise in the adrenal gland.
Post-surgery, you'll need to take cortisol-replacement medications. At some point, your normal adrenal hormone production should resume and you can be taken off the replacement drugs. However, it's possible that normal function may never return, leaving you dependent on the drugs throughout your life.
Consider radiation therapy, which is another option when removing a pituitary tumour and preventing the symptoms of Cushing's syndrome.
Opt for medicine that controls the production of excessive cortisol if you're not a good candidate for surgery or radiation. You may also need hormone-replacement medication if hormone production becomes deficient, either because of the treatment you're undergoing or the tumour itself.
Consider a bilateral adrenalectomy, which is the removal of your adrenal glands. This should be a last resort. It'll stop overproduction of cortisol but may cause hyperpigmentation in your skin.
Tips and warnings
- Performing liposuction requires caution. A buffalo hump isn't a deep compartment of fat but rather a thick layer of dermal fat. Some surgeons may do excessive superficial liposuction, injuring the area and causing permanent discolouration of the skin. If the skin is injured during liposuction, it may lead to necrosis of the skin and a bad scar.
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