Background information respiration | Anatomy | Lower respiratory tract | Lung


The lungs fill the space between ribcage, diaphragm and mediastinum. Their shape is formed by the neighbour organs: The concave surface at the basis results from the shape of the diaphragm, medial the heart arches into the left lung and the large blood vessels leave depressions in the lung's surface. Bronchi and large vessels enter the lung through the hilum located on the medial surface of the lung.

The right lung is divided by fissures into three parts, called the superior, middle, and inferior lobe while the left consists of two lobes, a superior and an inferior. The left lung is smaller than the right and has an indentation where the heart normally sits. Therefore volume and weight of the right compared to the left lung have a ratio of 11:10. One lung contains a volume of about 2 l and weighs approximately 200-400 g.

A double-layered membrane – the pleura – is attached to the surface of each lung. The parietal pleura covers the chest wall and the superior diaphragm while the visceral pleura covers the external lung surface. The pleurae produce fluid that fills the slit-like cavity between them. This fluid helps affixing the lungs to the chest wall and causes the lungs to move with the thorax.


Shier D, Butler J, Lewis R. Hole's human anatomy and physiology. 2004. McGraw Hill: New York

3-D morphological structures of the lung

This is a 3-D model of the lung. It can be moved horizontally and vertically around two axes as well as enlarged or scaled down. Clicking on the "labelling" button identifies the structures with their correct anatomical terms. You also have the possibility to choose between two different graphic renditions.

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