- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Zenker's diverticulum

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Herniation of the mucous membrane of the oesophagus through a defect in the wall of oesophagus. The location is usually in the posterior hypopharyngeal wall. Small ones are asymptomatic, but larger ones may collect food and cause oesophageal obstruction. It may cause swelling in the lateral part of the neck and is diagnosed by X-ray. Most commonly seen in elderly males. Sometimes present with dysphagia, characteristically occurring with first swallowing attempt. Zenker's report was based on 5 personal cases and 22 cases collected from the literature. It was first successfully resected by William Ireland de Courcy Wheeler (1846-1899), Dublin, in 1887.


  • F. A. Zenker and Hugo Wilhelm von Ziemssen:
    Krankheiten des Oesophagus. Leipzig, 1867.
  • W. I. De Courcy Wheeler:
    Cases of pharyngotomy. London and Dublin, 1887.

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