Zenker's Diverticulum

What is it?
This is an uncommon out pouching of the tissue of the throat (specifically the pharynx) at an area of weakness just above a band of muscle called the upper esophageal sphincter. It is thought to be due to changes in the motility of the esophagus, the tube connecting the mouth and the stomach. It occurs more often in males after age of 60.

What are the symptoms?

People may have no symptoms or the following may be present:

  • Trouble swallowing. Mucus, pills, and food may get stuck in the out pouching.
  • Regurgitation. The contents of the diverticulum can come back up into the mouth.
  • Bad breath. • Throat gurgling.
  • Mass of neck.

How is it diagnosed?

A barium esophagram may be performed depending on your symptoms. The barium is swallowed and an x-ray is taken that may show the presence of the out pouching.

How is it treated?

Surgery is the treatment of choice though other methods are being developed. This surgery would not be performed by one of the physicians at our office, rather by an otolaryngology specialist.

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