Zenker’s Diverticulum

An outpouching or, in effect, a hernia of the swallowing passage just above a non-relaxing cricopharyngeus muscle. In essence, the forces of swallowing are delivered against a somewhat unyielding muscle, and this causes the wall of the swallowing passage just above the cricopharyngeus muscle (i.e., the upper esophageal sphincter) to balloon outward. Hence, unknown to many, the Zenker’s diverticulum is only the reflection of the main problem, which is cricopharyngeal dysfunction. Myotomy of the cricopharyngeus muscle tends to resolve symptoms, even though the Zenker’s diverticulum is left in place and not removed.