Zenker’s Diverticulum

What is Zenker’s Diverticulum?

A diverticulum is the definition for an abnormal pocket or pouch forming outwards off the gastrointestinal wall.

A Zenker’s Diverticulum forms specifically in the throat, at the beginning of the digestive tract, just above the upper oesophageal sphincter.

Dr Haidry introduced the endoscopic treatment of Oesophageal Pouches with endoscopic diverticulotomy to London and works closely with his surgical colleagues to help patients get the best treatment for this challenging condition.

What causes Zenker’s Diverticulum?

Zenker’s Diverticulum is caused by the abnormal tightening of the upper oesophageal sphincter.

As the muscle tightens, pressure builds along the oesophageal wall and throat, above the sphincter itself. Above this muscle is one of the naturally weakest points of the throat wall and the diverticulum is able to form as increased pressure occurs during swallowing.

The upper oesophageal sphincter below the diverticulum pouch is tighter than usual and this makes it difficult for food and liquid to pass into the oesophagus and it can settle in the diverticulum or even be forced back into the throat, causing regurgitation.

Symptoms of Zenker’s Diverticulum

As the above information makes clear, one of the key symptoms of Zenker’s Diverticulum is difficulty in swallowing and patients often experience the feeling of food sticking in their throat. The food building up in the diverticulum pouch can also result in bad breath, choking and coughing. Some patients suffer from weight loss as they are unable to eat and drink comfortably.

Diagnosing Zenker’s Diverticulum

There are a range of options to diagnose Zenker’s Diverticulum. Patients may be offered an upper endoscopy where a camera is inserted on a long thin tube to examine the throat and oesophagus. Patients may also be offered a Barium swallow survey or a videofluoroscopic swallow study which allows their gastroenterologist to investigate swallowing problems more closely.

Treatment Options for Zenker’s Diverticulum

Doctor Haidry was one of the first doctors un the United Kingdom to be trained on and  and carry out endoscopic diverticulotomy forthis conditions nd regularly carries out these procedures at both the Unversiry College hospital and in his private practice.

Treatment for Zenker’s diverticulum looks to relieve the obstruction and make it easier to swallow. The tightening of the upper oesophageal sphincter is at the centre of the problem and most patients can be treated via minimally invasive endoscopic treatment. It is possible to carry out a diverticulectomy via an endoscope and it involves cutting the tightened muscle and the wall between the oesophagus and the pouch which eliminates the obstruction. In some more complex cases open-neck surgery may be required to remove the Zenker’s Diverticulum.

Appointments with Dr Haidry

Dr Rehan Haidry is an experienced consultant gastroenterologist who helps many patients with swallowing problems and related conditions such as Zenker’s Diverticulum. Get in touch today to discuss your concerns and book an appointment.

To make an enquiry or appointment please contact Dr Rehan Haidry's secretary