Zenker's Diverticulum

What is Zenker's diverticulum?

A Zenker’s diverticulum is a condition that is characterized by spasm of the muscles of the upper part of the gullet (the cervical oesophagus). This leads to the patient experiencing difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), and gradually a pouch (diverticulum) can form in the neck at the weakest point of the gullet (Killian's triangle). The Zenker's diverticulum occurs at the junction of the pharynx and the oesophagus.

The diagnosis is confirmed with barium (contrast) swallow and manometry (pressure testing).

What are the symptoms of a Zenker's diverticulum?

Signs and symptoms of Zenker's diverticulum include:

Left untreated, Zenker's diverticulum symptoms may worsen over time.

How is Zenker's diverticulum treated?

This condition needs surgical treatment. The aim of the procedure is to decrease the pressure in the upper gullet by dividing the muscle layer. Depending on the size of the diverticulum, this can either be done through a neck incision or with the use of a special stapling device introduced through the mouth.