Zenker’s Diverticulum

Zenker’s diverticulum is a disease that is characterized by an outpouching of the esophagus in the neck. This causes difficulty swallowing for patients, bad breath, and regurgitation of undigested food.

Patients with Zenker’s diverticulum are recommended to undergo “cricopharyngeal myotomy and Zenker’s diverticulectomy.” The rationale behind the surgical option is to remove the diverticulum and cut the muscle that causes the formation of the outpouching of the esophagus.

In order to provide the best surgical outcome, we obtain the following studies to determine the patient’s anatomy:

  1. Esophagram—This study is performed by a radiologist. The patient drinks barium under an X-ray, which highlights the anatomy of the esophagus and diverticulum.
  2. CT scan of neck and/or CT of the chest—This study is performed in radiology. It provides information about the location and the size of the diverticulum.

These studies allow us to diagnose Zenker’s diverticulum and advise patients about the best surgical option and the degree of success with surgical treatment.