Zenker's diverticulum: exploring treatment options

Alessandra Bizzotto, F. Iacopini, Rosario Landi, Guido Costamagna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)


Zenker's diverticulum is an acquired sac-like outpouching of the mucosa and submucosa layers located dorsally at the pharyngoesophageal junction through Killian's dehiscence. It is the most common type of oesophageal diverticula with a reported prevalence ranging between 0.01 to 0.11% and typically occurs in middle-aged and elderly patients. Predominant symptoms are dysphagia and regurgitation. Treatment is recommended for symptomatic patients and considering the aetiopathogenesis of the disease demands myotomy of the cricopharyngeal muscle. Myotomy may be pursued through either open surgical or endoscopic techniques. Management of Zenker's diverticulum has dramatically progressed during past decades. Open surgery with cricopharyngeal myotomy has long been the conventional treatment with satisfactory results, but is associated with high complication rates. Since Zenker's diverticulum mainly affects frail elderly patients, less invasive treatments are indicated. In recent years, endoscopic repair of Zenker's diverticulum has been found to be a viable safe and effective alternative to surgery and gained widespread acceptance. Endoscopic stapled diverticulotomy is generally the preferred approach, but flexible endoscopy is a valuable option, particularly for high-risk patients. The literature is mainly based on retrospective case series or comparative case series, and the optimal treatment modality has not yet been established. The choice between the different approaches depends on local expertise and preferences. Based on retrospective literature results, appropriate technique selection dictated by the size of the diverticulum and the patient's conditions is however desirable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-229
Number of pages11
JournalActa Otorhinolaryngologica Italica
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Cricopharyngeal muscle
  • Diverticulectomy
  • Endoscopic stapling diverticulotomy
  • Flexible endoscopy
  • Myotomy
  • Zenker's diverticulum


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