Zenker diverticulum

Case contributed by Dr Domenico Nicoletti


History of regurgitation, dysphagia, and intense halitosis for about 4 years. Barium study of esophagus performed.

Patient Data

Age: 70
Gender: Female

Diverticulum with a long neck through the posterior wall of the esophagus, compatible with a Zenker diverticulum.

Case Discussion

Zenker diverticulum (named after German pathologist Friedrich Albert von Zenker) is an acquired diverticulum of the pharynx. It is a pulsion diverticulum, resulting from dyscoordination of upper esophageal sphincter peristalsis and subsequent herniation of the esophageal mucosa and submucosa. It is therefore not functional pharyngeal/esophageal anatomy. The diverticulum occurs through Killian's triangle, along the midline, the weakest portion of the hypopharygneal musculature.

A Zenker diverticulum characteristically projects posteriorly, in the prevertebral soft tissues. This diverticulum, because of its mass effect, can cause difficulty with breathing and dysphagia, and can lead to regurgitation and halitosis.

These can be treated surgically.

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Case information

rID: 30097
Published: 18th Jul 2014
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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