What is Zenker's Diverticulum?

Zenker’s diverticulum is a small outpouching of the lining of the esophagus between the muscle fibers. It causes food to get stuck, can cause regurgitation of old food or recently swallowed food, causes bad breath (halitosis), can cause a gurgling sound when swallowing, or a cough when lying down.

There are minimally invasive endoscopic surgical techniques (endoscopic stapling and laser cricopharyngeal myotomy) that are performed by Dr. Anderson to treat Zenker’s diverticulum. These procedures are outpatient, are very safe, cause minimal discomfort, and do not require an external incision. Not all Zenkers are amenable to the endoscopic approach; a barium swallow test is necessary to determine if this procedure is right for you.

Reflux disease is a common cause for diverticulae; trauma can also cause these. In general they are a nuisance, can cause aspiration pneumonia, and are usually simple to treat endoscopically.