Zenker's Diverticulum (Pharyngeal Diverticulum)
This page was last updated on: April 21, 2020
Diverticulum pulled upward between the larynx (behind upper retractor) and the sternomastoid (behind lower retractor)
Diverticulum stretched to visualize its base.
The excised diverticulum is opened and inspected
Barium swallow studies showing Zenker's diverticula
Named after Friedrich Albert von Zenker (1825-1898), a German pathologist, Zenker's diverticulum is a pulsion diverticulum that arises from a muscular dehiscence between the oblique fibers of the inferior constrictor muscle and the transverse fibers of the cricopharyngeus muscle. This area is known as the Killian triangle.  Zenker's diverticula most commonly appear between the 6th and 9th decades and are 2 to 3 times more frequent in men than women. The main symptom is dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing).  Food retained in the diverticulum may lead to  spontaneous regurgitation, bad breath and choking. As the sac grows larger, it compresses the esophagus, causing more dysphagia and aspiration. Eventually, a Zenker's  diverticulum may lead to severe loss of weight and complete esophageal obstruction.


Bechara Y. Ghorayeb, MD
Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery

Memorial Hermann Professional Building
1140 Business Center Drive, Suite  560
Houston, Texas 77043
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