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Esophageal diverticula


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Esophageal diverticula are weak areas of the esophagus, the tube that connects your throat to your stomach, that push outward. These weakened areas form a pouch, which can trap food.

There are different types of esophageal diverticula:

  • Zenker’s diverticula – Form at the back of your throat above the esophagus (these are most common)
  • Midthoracic diverticula – Form in the mid-chest area of your throat
  • Epiphrenic diverticula – Form above your diaphragm

The condition can affect people of all ages, but it mainly occurs in middle-aged and older adults.

Risk Factors

Esophageal diverticula are more common in people with swallowing conditions, such as achalasia, that affect the function of their esophagus.


You may not notice any symptoms until the diverticulum fills with food, which can cause:

  • Breathing food into your airways
  • Cough
  • Gurgling sound in the throat
  • Lung infections, such as pneumonia
  • Regurgitation of undigested food
  • Sore throat or hoarseness
  • Swallowing pain and difficulty


Barium Swallow
Your doctor will have you swallow a liquid dye (barium). They will use an X-ray to watch you swallow the liquid and evaluate the function of your esophagus.

This imaging test uses a flexible, narrow tube and viewing device (endoscope) guided into your esophagus. This lets your doctor take a closer look at the inside of your esophagus.

Manometry is a type of endoscopy that uses pressure sensors to measure your muscle contractions when you swallow.

Endoscopic Functional Luminal Imaging Probe (EndoFLIP®)
This procedure uses a flexible tube with a balloon at the end, which is fitted with sensors. The test measures the distance across your esophagus and the pressure within it. This information tells your doctor about the stiffness of your esophageal muscles.


The procedure will depend on the size and location of the diverticulum. Our surgeons use the least invasive approach to repair the esophagus so that you can recover more quickly.

Why Choose UHealth?

Fast, accurate diagnosis. We have the only motility lab in South Florida, which allows our GI specialists to provide accurate results faster. That means they can begin treatment right away, and you can feel better sooner.

Expert care for digestive conditions. Our digestive health experts care for a full range of conditions – from an upset stomach to colorectal cancer. As an academic medical center, we offer the latest, proven approaches backed by the leading-edge research of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

A comprehensive team. Digestive health specialists work as a team with dietitians, surgeons, and other specialists to ensure you get complete care. You work with a team that gives you individual attention and treatment that offers you the best possible results.

Leaders in robotic surgery treatment. We have some of the world’s most experienced robotic surgeons for minimally invasive procedures. We were the first academic medical center in the world to get the da Vinci Xi robotic surgery system. Our surgeons have completed more than 5,000 robotic surgeries — procedures that offer less pain and scarring and a faster recovery.

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