Pathology of the Gastrointestinal Tract

2017 Edition
| Editors: Fátima Carneiro, Paula Chaves, Arzu Ensari

Zenker’s Diverticulum

  • Catarina Fidalgo
  • Sandra Faias
Reference work entry


Cricopharyngeal diverticulum; Hypopharyngeal diverticulum; Pharyngoesophageal diverticulum; Pharyngoesophageal pouch; Posterior pulsion pharyngeal diverticulum; Retropharyngeal diverticulum


Pharyngoesophageal diverticulum refers to an acquired outpouching of the esophageal mucosa and submucosa, occurring in an area of relative muscular weakness. This area, known as Killian’s triangle, corresponds to the zone where the transverse fibers of the cricopharyngeus muscle intersect the oblique fibers of the inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscle. These diverticula are false diverticula as they are a herniation of mucosa and submucosa through the muscular wall. A possible causal mechanism would be an increased luminal pressure caused by impaired upper esophageal sphincter relaxation. Other findings such as achalasia, cricopharyngeal incoordination, or congenital weakness have been implicated, and gastroesophageal reflux could also play a role. Nevertheless the exact...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Further Reading

  1. Bowdler, D. A. (2008). Pharyngeal pouches. In M. J. Gleeson (Ed.), Scott Brown’s textbook of otorhinolaryngology (7th ed., pp. 1–22). Oxford.Google Scholar
  2. Case, D. J., & Baron, T. H. (2010). Flexible endoscopic management of Zenker diverticulum: The Mayo Clinic experience. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 85(8), 719–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ferreira, L. E., Simmons, D. T., & Baron, T. H. (2008). Zenker’s diverticula: Pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and flexible endoscopic management. Diseases of the Esophagus, 21(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Rizzetto, C., Zaninotto, G., Costantini, M., et al. (2008). Zenker’s diverticula: Feasibility of a tailored approach based on diverticulum size. Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, 12, 2057–2065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Siddiq, M. A., Sood, S., & Strachan, D. (2001). Pharyngeal pouch (Zenker’s diverticulum). Postgraduate Medical Journal, 77, 506–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa Francisco Gentil, E.P.E.LisboaPortugal