, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 228–234 | Cite as

Upper esophageal sphincterotomy in dysphagic patients with and without a diverticulum

  • Jos J. M. van Overbeek


Symptoms of high dysphagia are sometimes too readily interpreted as symptoms of globus. When patients have unmistakable difficulties during meals, focused diagnostic procedures are indicated.

The upper esophageal sphincter (UES) is the key structure at the transition from hypopharynx to esophagus. In many disorders presenting with dysphagia, the UES mechanism remains intact and can cause the symptoms. Especially in patients with a hypopharyngeal (Zenker's) diverticulum and in patients with a hypopharyngeal paralysis due to a neurologic disorder, sphincterotomy may be indicated. In the microendoscopic treatment of Zenker's diverticulum, a transmucosal sphincterotomy is created and at the same time a more ample overflow from diverticulum to esophagus is effected. In view of our results in 507 patients we are justified in maintaining that this procedure can be regarded as a safe and effective treatment. In patients with neurologic dysphagia, sphincterotomy by an external approach can ensure adequate passage of food from the hypopharynx to the esophagus, resulting in marked improvement of the dysphagic symptoms. Our technique and results of external approach sphincterotomy are described here.

Key words

Sphincter, upper esophageal Sphincterotomy, upper esophageal Diverticulum, hypopharyngeal (Zenker's) Diverticulum, endoscopic treatment Neurologic disorders Deglutition Deglutition disorders 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jos J. M. van Overbeek
    • 1
  1. 1.Ear, Nose, and Throat DepartmentUniversity Hospital and Martini HospitalGroningenThe Netherlands

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