Two techniques for treatment of Zenker's diverticulum, endoscopic stapler-assisted esophagodiverticulostomy and open cricopharyngeal myotomy by transcervical approach, were compared with regard to patient satisfaction and quality of life. Between January 1994 and December 2004 a total of 47 patients with Zenker's diverticulum underwent surgery in our department. Besides the usual retrospective evaluation of details of surgery, all patients were sent a questionnaire on their actual complaints and quality of life according to the Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index (GIQLI). Twenty patients had the endoscopic procedure (Group A), and 27 the open procedure (Group B). The preoperative symptoms were dysphagia in 96%, regurgitation of undigested food in 60%, cough in 19%, and pneumonia caused by recurrent aspiration in 9%. The length of surgery was on average 32 min (range 5–70 min) in Group A and 106 min (range 45–165 min) in Group B, and the length of hospital stay was 5.5 days (range 1–10 days) and 12.3 days (range 7–25 days), respectively. The results of the questionnaire showed that the preoperative symptoms had disappeared in up to 83%, and 91% in Group A and 100% in Group B would be willing to undergo surgery again. The mean GIQLI was 123 points in Group A and 118 points in Group B (healthy volunteers in the literature, 125 points). Both techniques showed good results in a long-term follow-up with regard to relief of symptoms and patient satisfaction. Both groups had an excellent Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index, comparable to that of a healthy standard population.