Understanding Zenker’s Diverticulum
Zenker’s diverticulum, also known as a pharyngeal pouch, is a rare condition that involves the formation of a pouch or sac in the wall of the back part of the throat. This condition typically occurs in older adults, usually over the age of 60, and it is more common in men than in women.
The cause of this is believed to be increased pressure in the throat during swallowing, which can lead to the weakening of the wall and the formation of a pouch. It may also be associated with conditions like achalasia (a disorder of the esophagus) or other motility disorders.
Recognizing the Signs
Patients with Zenker’s diverticulum may present with a range of symptoms, including:
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Regurgitation of undigested food or foul-smelling material
- Coughing or choking episodes during meals
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Weight loss due to eating difficulties
- Recurrent episodes of aspiration pneumonia
Expert Diagnosis and Care
Our experienced physicians utilize a combination of diagnostic techniques to accurately identify Zenker’s diverticulum, including:
This procedure involves the ingestion of a contrast material, followed by X-rays to visualize the diverticulum.
Utilizing a thin, flexible tube equipped with a camera (endoscope), we can directly examine the diverticulum and surrounding tissues through the mouth.
Personalized Treatment Solutions
At Century ENT, treatment for Zenker’s diverticulum is tailored to the unique needs of each patient, considering factors such as diverticulum size, severity, and overall health. Common treatment options encompass:
- Surgery: Surgical removal of the diverticulum is often recommended, especially for larger diverticula or when symptoms are severe. This procedure can be performed endoscopically through the mouth or via a neck incision.
- Lifestyle Adjustments: For milder cases, lifestyle modifications like eating slowly, thoroughly chewing food, and avoiding specific foods that may exacerbate symptoms can be effective in managing the condition.
- Gastrostomy Tube: In select cases, alternative methods of nutrition, such as a gastrostomy tube, may be advised.
Count on Century ENT for Specialized Care
Zenker’s diverticulum is a treatable condition, and our team of specialists at Century ENT is dedicated to providing you with the guidance and care you need. If you or a loved one is confronting this condition, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for expert evaluation and personalized treatment options. Your well-being is our utmost priority, and we are committed to assisting you in overcoming the challenges associated with Zenker’s diverticulum.