Zenker’s diverticulum is a esophageal pouch that protrudes outward in a weak portion of the esophageal lining. This pear shaped structure appears mainly in the neck between the constritors and cricopharyngeal muscles. Zenker’s diverticula are usually located in the back of the throat, just above the esophagus
Why Zenker’s Diverticulum must be removed ?
This outpouching of esophagus can affect people of all ages, however most cases occur in middle-aged and elderly individuals. Esophageal diverticula are rare and present only 5 percent of patients who complain of difficulty in swallowing. Besides difficulty in swallowing, they can enlarge over years and cause regurgitation, bad breath ( halitosis) and increases risk of aspiration. If they enlarge enormously, they can cause compression of the airways and cause difficulty in breathing. Though rare, but squamours cell carcinoma can develop in presence of Zenkers diverticulum 0.5 %.
symptoms of Zenker's Diverticulum :-
The symptoms of esophageal diverticula include:
Aspiration pneumonia (food and regurgitated material can enter into the trachea and lungs)
a lung abscess caused by pulmonary aspiration
Bad breath (halitosis)
The most important and simple test to diagnose Zenker’s Diverticulum is a Barium swallow, where the patient will swallows a liquid contrast and x-rays are taken at the same time to record the contrast moving through the esophagus.
Though not so common disease, our surgical team with Dr. Sukharamwala has treated a numerous patients with zenker's diverticulum. The treatment involves Diverticulectomy wtih Cricopharyngeal myotomy.
In this operaion which is done under general anesthesia, a small incision is made on the left side of the neck and zenkers diverticulum is dissected. The muscles of the esophagus below the diverticulum are split and the diverticlum is removed.
You can expect to stay in the hospital for 3-4 days. First day after surgery, we will perform a Barium Swallow to ensure that there is no leak at the resection site. If no leak is present we will start you on liquid diet and gradually advance to full liquid diet and advance as tolerated over a course of couple of days. A drain may be present in the neck which will be removed if your recovery is as expected.
At your discharge, you will be given a complete discharge instruction, pain medication prescription and contact information in case of any post operative issues. We will see you back in our office for post operative check up in 5-7 days.
A few complication that are associated with this procedure include but not limited are Esophageal leak, Wound infection, Bleeding. Pneumonia, General Anesthesia complications.
Please call today at (813) 879-5010 to schedule an appointment at a location nearest to you.