Pharyngoesophageal diverticulum, better known as Zenker’s Diverticulum, is the failure of the muscle located between the throat and esophagus to relax, which causes the throat to pouch out, leaving it vulnerable to catching food or obstructing the esophageal pathway.
Common symptoms of Zenker’s include:
- Bad breath
- Chronic cough
- Excessive phlegm or mucus
- Regurgitation of food
- Sensation of a ‘lump in the throat’
- Those who suffer from Zenker’s diverticulum often experience weight loss in the long term, due to difficulty eating or keeping food down.
In mild cases, symptoms of Zenker’s can be reduced with changes in diet and eating habits, but in severe cases surgery may be necessary to relieve its effects. Botox injections can provide temporary relief of Zenker’s in certain cases as well.
As a laryngologist, Dr. Rafii is an expert in treatment of swallowing disorders. The first step in treatment is to identify the cause, which can sometimes be complicated. Dr. Rafii is an expert in using non-invasive diagnostic tools such as Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) to help determine the cause of your swallowing problem. He is also one of only a handful of surgeons in Los Angeles trained in minimally invasive swallow restoration surgeries such as laser cricopharyngeal myotomy and endoscopic Zenker’s diverticulotomy.