Allegheny Health Network
Find a
Doctor
Request An Appointment Login to
MyChart
Patient
Center
News Classes &
Events
Contact
Us
Call 412.Doctors

Diverticulum

Esophageal diverticulum is an out-pouching of the esophagus that may accumulate food and fluid resulting in regurgitation and/or aspiration. It occurs most often in older adults and is caused by uncoordinated esophageal contractions or non-relaxation of the upper or lower esophageal sphincters. 

Tests & Diagnosis

Epiphrenic (near the diaphragm) Diverticulum

Barium swallow study involves you drinking a chalky liquid (barium solution) that coats your esophagus, allowing us to visualize on X-rays the passage of this fluid through your esophagus and into the stomach.

High-resolution manometry measures the strength, pressure and coordination of your esophagus' muscles. A specially trained nurse guides a small catheter through your nose and into the esophagus and instructs your to swallow small amounts of liquid at specific intervals. This test is required to make the diagnosis of achalasia.


Zenker’s (next to the throat) Diverticulum

Modified barium swallow is a specialized barium study where the efficiency of swallowing is evaluated. Interventions include modifications in the type of swallowed bolus, and the timing of swallowing in relationship to breathing. This study lets the physician see what is happening inside your mouth and throat.

High-resolution manometry measures the strength, pressure and coordination of your esophagus' muscles. A specially trained nurse guides a small catheter through your nose and into the esophagus and instructs you to swallow small amounts of liquid at specific intervals.

Treatments

Epiphrenic (near the diaphragm) Diverticulum

Minimally invasive resection is a laparoscopic approach used to remove the diverticulum and simultaneously correct the underlying motility disorder that led to its development. This procedure is often coupled with a partial fundoplication to prevent reflux.

Zenker’s (next to the throat) Diverticulum

Transoral stapling is an incisionless approach performed through your mouth where the faulty upper esophageal sphincter muscle is divided along with the adjoining diverticulum and esophageal walls to prevent food from accumulating. This approach is performed on an outpatient basis.

Transcervical resection is performed through an incision in your neck where the diverticula are removed and the upper sphincter muscle is cut.