Esophageal Surgery
Samer A.Kanaan, MD, FACS

Esophageal Diverticulum

What is an esophageal diverticulum?

Esophageal diverticulum also known as Zenker's diverticulum refers to an outpouching of the esophagus resulting from dysfunction of the pharyngoesophageal muscle. This dysfunction leads to increased pressure which causes the outpouching, usually on the left side.

What are the signs or symptoms of an esophageal diverticulum?

The diverticulum causes food or pills to get stuck, bad breath, difficulty with swallowing, and can lead to aspiration pneumonia.

How is an esophageal diverticulum treated?

Surgery is recommended once the condition is diagnosed. The operation involves a left neck incision to divide the pharyngoesophageal muscle and then to either remove or suspend the diverticulum to prevent further complications. Most patients have complete resolution of their symptoms after surgery and are discharged home in 2-3 days’ time.