Medical Definition of Hump, dowager

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Hump, dowager: An outward curvature of the vertebrae of neck, creating a hump at the back of the neck, once thought to be a characteristic deformity of older women.

A dowager was a woman of high social rank whose husband was dead but who had a title (such as duchess) and property because of her marriage to him.

Dowager hump, or dowager's hump, is formally known in medicine as postmenopausal cervical kyphosis. It is due to osteoporotic changes in the cervical spine. It may affect men or women. Like most osteoporotic changes, it is often preventable.

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