Killian-Jamieson diverticulum

Last revised by Mostafa El-Feky on 26 Nov 2022

Killian-Jamieson diverticula are esophageal diverticula. Like the more common Zenker diverticulum, it is a false diverticulum and represents an outpouching of mucosa through a muscular defect (in this case the Killian-Jamieson space 2). 

They are located just below the cricopharyngeus muscle, anteriorly and laterally, as left-sided, or less commonly bilateral, outpouching(s) from the cervical esophagus. High intraluminal pressure due to functional esophageal obstruction may be the cause for the herniation of mucosa through the potential site of weakness in the lateral esophageal wall 5.

A Killian-Jamieson diverticulum is infrequently encountered as compared with a Zenker diverticulum. They are usually smaller than a Zenker diverticulum (usually <1.5 cm) and are only occasionally symptomatic.

On pharyngoesophagography, it usually appears as a left-sided outpouching from the proximal cervical esophagus below the cricopharyngeus. Less frequently, the outpouchings may be bilateral (25%) 4

It may be encountered on thyroid ultrasound. It changes its shape during ultrasound when the patient swallows. If it is uncertain on static ultrasound images, swallowing maneuvers can be performed with cine ultrasound 3.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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