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Zenker’s Diverticulum is a rare anatomical disorder which is caused by formation of a pouch or a pocket in one of the muscles in the back of pharynx (part of throat situated below the nasal cavity above esophagus and behind oral cavity). The muscle involved is posterior pharyngeal constrictor muscle. This happens due to excessive pressure in the pharynx which results in ballooning out of the weakest portion of the pharynx.
Signs & Symptoms of Zenker’s Diverticulum¬†
Usually it occurs in older patients and develops very slowly. The food gets stuck in the pocket and results in difficulty in swallowing, since the pocket is so proximal, food lays there for several days and causes initiating the process of swallowing and no matter how hard you brush, you will have bad breath (halitosis). Sometimes, the undigested food is regurgitated during sleep.
Diagnosing & Treatment of Zenker’s Diverticulum
Diagnosing Zenker’s Diverticulum is easy, it can be seen as pouch in Barium Studies. While the only treatment that is effective is surgical resection of the pouch. It is a fairly simple process. While investigating Zenker’s Diverticulum doctor should never place nasogastric tubes or do endoscopy as it could result in perforation of the pharynx.
Though recent advances in medical science, has mad it possible to “staple” the diverticulum or the pouch. It can be done using fiber optic guided endoscopy. The advantage of this method over surgical resection is that the recovery of the patient is quick and it is known to be more effective than non surgical techniques like endoscopic laser.