Jefferson University Hospitals

Zenker's Diverticulum

A Zenker's diverticulum can develop when there is a problem with the upper valve to the esophagus. This creates a situation in which there is excessive pressure in the throat leading to the formation of a pouch. This pouch can collect food with swallowing, leading to symptoms of difficulty swallowing and sometimes even regurgitation of undigested food (or pills).

Swallowing problems of this nature can be evaluated by the Jefferson Voice and Swallowing team.

Diagnosing & Treating Zenker's Diverticulum

Our specialists may order an endoscopy, barium swallow or functional endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) to reach a diagnosis. Typically with significant symptoms, surgery will be recommended. 

The experts of the Jefferson Voice and Swallowing Center perform the latest techniques for treatment and have even pioneered new techniques. While sometimes open surgery is necessary, most often it is possible to perform a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure that can be done with a minimal hospital stay.