Zenker's diverticulostomy with cricopharyngeal myotomy: The endoscopic approach

J. Adams, B. Sheppard, P. Andersen, B. Myers, Clifford Deveney, E. Everts, James Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: The gold standard for the surgical treatment of Zenker's diverticulum is diverticulectomy and cricopharyngeal myotomy by an external approach. Unfortunately, many of the patients who present with this entity are elderly and have significant comorbidities that increase operative risk. Traditional minimally invasive approaches have not met with widespread success. However, by combining the exposure afforded by the otolaryngologist's newer bivalved operating laryngoscopes with the operative techniques made possible by the general surgeon's laparoscopic instrumentation and staplers, it is possible to achieve reliable and safe endoscopic outpatient management of this disease entity, with resumption of a normal diet on the same day. Methods: We reviewed the physiologic basis, instrumentation, and technical considerations for this endoscopic procedure. We also documented our operative experience with 21 patients treated over an 18-month period. Results: Successful minimally invasive management of Zenker's diverticulum was possible in 18 of 21 patients. In two patients, anatomic limitations of mouth and neck anatomy precluded exposure of the diverticulum; in another patient, the diverticulum was too small. Small operative perforations of the apex of the diverticulum occurred in three cases. Two of these perforations were repaired primarily with minimally invasive techniques; in the other case, treatment consisted of observation alone. In all but this last patient, oral diet was resumed on the day of the operation. Eleven of the patients were discharged from the hospital on the same day; the remaining patients went home the following morning. Conclusions: With proper patient selection, minimally invasive management of Zenker's diverticulum is a safe and effective surgical technique that allows for outpatient management of the majority of patients who present with this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-37
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cricopharyngeal myotomy
  • Dysphagia
  • Endoscopy
  • Zenker's diverticulum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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