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Normal anatomy

Reviewer: Elliot Weisenberg, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 26 August 2011, last major update August 2011
Copyright: (c) 2003-2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Main function of lungs is gas exchange
● Trachea divides into right and left mainstem bronchi
● Right lung has 3 lobes (upper, middle and lower); left lung has 2 lobes (upper and lower) lobes; lingual is part of left upper lobe and is somewhat analogous to right middle lobe
● Right bronchus is more vertical and in line with trachea than left; thus aspirated material tends to enter right lung
● Each main bronchus divides into lobar bronchi, then into segmental bronchi
● Lobar bronchi are usually called secondary bronchi and segmental bronchi are called tertiary bronchi, except in Japan, where they are called first order and second order, respectively
● Bronchial walls contain cartilage and submucosal glands
● Bronchioles are generally <3 mm in diameter and lack cartilage and submucosal glands in their walls; their diameter varies
● Bronchioles are generally divided into non-respiratory bronchioles (all bronchioles proximal to respiratory bronchioles, including terminal bronchioles that are proximal to respiratory bronchioles) and respiratory bronchioles (airways with alveoli budding from their walls)
● Alveoli are "dead ends" of airways; their walls are composed only of alveoli, where gas exchange takes place
● Lung has double arterial supply - pulmonary and bronchial arteries that accompany airways; in general, diameter of airway is similar to that of accompanying pulmonary artery
● Lungs are surrounded by visceral pleural membrane; inner chest cavity is lined by parietal pleural membrane; these membranes define pleural space, which normally has minimal volume
● Regional lymph nodes: paratracheal, pre- and retrotracheal, aortic, subcarinal, periesophageal, inferior pulmonary ligament, hilar, peribronchial and intrapulmonary

Images / diagrams


Various images

End of Lung-nontumor > Normal anatomy

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