Esophageal diverticula are sac or pouch projections arising from the esophagus.
They can occur in all ages but more frequent in adults and elderly people.
Esophageal diverticula are either:
- true diverticula: include all esophageal layers
- false diverticula: contain only mucosa and submucosa herniating through the muscular layer (e.g. Zenker diverticulum)
Esophageal diverticula are classified according to the mechanism of formation into:
- traction diverticula: occurs secondary to pulling forces on the outer aspect of the esophagus
- pulsion diverticula: occurs secondary to increased intraluminal pressure (e.g. Zenker diverticulum)
They can be classified according to their location:
Upper esophageal diverticula
- Zenker diverticulum: actually pharyngeal but it is common practice to include it with esophageal diverticula
- Killian-Jamieson diverticulum
Middle esophageal diverticula
- traction diverticula: are (true diverticula) which occur secondary to scarring, fibrosis and inflammatory processes (tuberculous adenitis) in the mediastinum pulling on the esophageal wall
- pulsion diverticula: are usually false diverticula and occur secondary to abnormal increased intraluminal pressure against a weak esophageal segment