Was diagnosed with a zenker's diverticulum. It is 3cm and my doctor says I need surgery. I am scared - since I don't know anyone else with it, and need to find an experienced doctor to do the surgery. I was wondering about the long term effects of surgery. As I understand, there are different ways to do the surgery. Which is the best way?
Your GP should be able to refer you to a couple of good surgeons working in the Dept of Otolaryngology at a major hospital in your area. I would get TWO opinions if possible by the way.
As you have obviously researched a lot on this, you've discovered that there are two approaches to this surgery. An external or open one and an endoscopic approach.
The open approach requires at least day or two in the hospital and has a very low rate of complication, such as infection, leaking or bleeding.
The endoscopic approach is faster but equally effective.
The nice thing for the patient using this way, is that it's done on an outpatient basis....or at MOST a 23-hour stay in the hospital.... and has an ever lower complication rate than the open approach.
I've read that endoscopic is the preferred treatment at the Mayo Clinic unless for some reason your anatomy makes it technically impossible.
Thanks for the response. As I understand from my ENT, they will cut a muscle to relax my esophagus. Will this affect my swallowing? I understand that Zenker's diverticulum is usually an old person's medical problem, and at 62, I don't consider myself old. I have severe acid reflux ( which I am being treated for), and the doctor said after they cut the muscle, there will be nothing to hold the acid down. This is all very scary to me. I want to do my homework.
By now you know that Zenker's diverticulum is an esophageal pouch that can fill with food that can be regurgitated later when you bend over or lie down. Have you ever aspirated food into your lungs? Or have you been having swallowing problems?
I know it all sounds very scary but in theory, surgery for Zenker's is supposed to bring you symptomatic relief.
Yes, it usually involves cutting the muscle in the upper part of the esophagus and removal of the pouch but I've read that this way, amazing improvement occurs in the majority of patients. You're swallowing should be okay. And, if anything, my understanding is that the surgery should relieve the symptoms of reflux.
Have your doctor spell out exactly which procedure you're going to have and ask questions galore...Endoscopy seems to be the treatment of choice these days.