Introduction: Esophageal diverticula are rare. They may occur in the pharyngoesophageal area (Zenker's), midesophagus, or distally (epiphrenic). A motility disorder (either at the level of the esophageal sphincters or body) is frequently associated with esophageal diverticula. The risk of malignant transformation is low.
Methods: A literature search was performed using Medline/PubMed database.
Results: The treatment of esophageal diverticula must be based on the pathophysiology and natural history of the disease: (a) asymptomatic diverticula do not need a specific treatment, (b) small diverticula may be left in place and not resected, (c) medium-size diverticula may be either treated by diverticulectomy, diverticulopexy, or esophagodiverticulostomy in case of pharyngoesophageal diverticula, (d) resection is probably the ideal therapy for larger diverticula, and (e) a myotomy should always be included to the procedure.
Conclusions: Due to its rarity, esophageal diverticula must be treated by esophageal surgeons since even in experienced hands the complication rate can be significant.