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Rainy Day Treats

By Dr. Juris BunkisJanuary 16, 2023January 23rd, 2023No Comments

Dr. Bunkis with the Scandinavian Baltic Film Festival Director

This past weekend was rainy; today, Martin Luther King Day, is rainy.   What better way to spend a rainy day than to cuddle up in front of a fireplace and read, or watch some good movies.    I had the opportunity to do both this weekend.

I dug into an old book from the 60’s, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, who recounts her rather traumatic childhood in segregated America – an appropriate topic for us to revisit this Martin Luther King Day. I also saw the Latvian film, January, directed by Viesturs Kairišs, at the Scandinavian Baltic Film Festival at the Wilburn Theater in Beverly Hills.  The Festival Director, Jim Koening, has done a wonderful job of bringing the best films “from the top of the world”, from Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to LA each January.   I would recommend that you check out the schedule of films showing next weekend and check out the Festival

January is Latvia’s entry for best foreign film category for the Oscars. It is an autobiographical depiction of Latvia’s peaceful stuggles in January of 1991 against Soviet Special Forces as they tried to stop Latvia from regaining its Independence. Latvia prevailed and today is fully integarated into Europe as a member of the EU and NATO. But Latvia has had a difficult history. Latvia is only the size of West Virginia and today has a population of 1.8 million.

Unfortunately, it is a relatively flat, forested and fertile land with ice free ports that is coveted by its neighbors. Over the centuries, it has been conquered and ruled by Sweden, Russia, Germany and Lithuania/Poland. Latvia first gained its independence in 1918, in the aftermath of WW I, but independence was short-lived. In 1940, Soviet tanks rolled into Latvia, were driven out by the Nazis in 1941, and Latvia was again conquered by the Soviets in 1944, this time the invaders stayed for 50 years (until the events depicted in the movie, January).

World War II is a particulary painful time in history for Latvians. We were brutalized mutliple times by Soviet and Nazi ivaders. Both misstreated Latvians. The Soviets killed and sent thousands of Latvians to Siberia and colectivized private property, robbed and raped citizens. During the Nazi era, most of Latvia’s Jewish citizens were murdered. Both the Soviet and Nazi takeovers of Latvia saw numerous Latvian citizens turn against their own kind and assist the Russians and Germans in persecuting Latvians.

Why? To explore this era further, the Latvian Consulate together with the Latvian Center in Los Angeles are hosting the USA premier screeing the film, “We’re Just Getting Started”, about Latvian historian and Holocaust survivor, Marherus Westeranis. Whether or not it rains on February 4th, I hope that you will join us at this screening in Los Angeles – please RSVP if you would like to come.

Surgery Spotlight: Can you treat a "buffalo hump" (dorsocervical fat pad)?

By John Compoginis, M.D., F.A.C.S.

The so called “buffalo hump” is a collection of subcutaneous fat at the top of the back, behind the neck and between the shoulder blades. There are many causes including genetics, certain medications, and medical conditions. When there is an imbalance of hormones such as cortisol this fatty collection can develop.

More frequently however, the fatty deposit is simply a consequence of genetics and fluctuations in weight. Weight gain can cause fatty deposition in areas that are unwanted. The anatomy of our spine and the natural curves that we need in the spine also can contribute to the prominence of a buffalo hump. The more pronounced the spinal curve underneath the buffalo hump the more noticeable the fatty pad will be.

30 year old female before and after buffalo hump liposuction (actual patient of Dr. Compoginis)

How can this unwanted buffalo hump be treated? Unfortunately there is not much that can be done for the curve of your spine. The fatty deposit itself, however, can be addressed. Aside from weight loss which, which usually does not fully resolve the hump, surgery is the best way to treat most buffalo humps. Direct excision is very effective but can result in a large undesired scar and longer recovery period.

Liposuction can be a powerful tool to remove buffalo humps and the incision may be no more than 3-4mm. Below is a healthy 30 year-old female with no underlying medical issues with a relatively small buffalo hump correct with liposuction. Recovery can be as short as a few days for a small surgery like this.

If you want to see if you can have any part of your body improved, contact us for a consultation:

For CA, please call 949-888-9700 or visit
Or for MA location, call 508-755-4825 or visit

You can write to
Dr. John Compoginis at Contact Us Form
Dr. Staci Compoginis at Contact Us Form
Dr. Deborah Ekstrom at [email protected]
or Dr. Juris Bunkis at Contact Us Form