Medical Definition of Dowager's hump

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Dowager's hump: An abnormal outward curvature of the thoracic vertebrae of the upper back. Compression of the front portion of the involved vertebrae due to osteoporosis leads to forward bending of the spine (kyphosis) and creates a hump at the upper back. Like most osteoporotic changes, it is often preventable.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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