Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Dropped Lung Anatomy

To better understand pneumothorax, it helps to understand the anatomy of the lungs.

Inside the chest, the windpipe, or trachea, divides into two smaller tubes: the right bronchus and the left bronchus. The right bronchus enters the right lung and the left bronchus enters the left lung. The right bronchus and left bronchus branch into smaller and smaller tubes.

The smallest tubes, called bronchioles, end in tiny air sacs, called alveoli. Blood flows very close to the walls of the alveoli. Oxygen and carbon dioxide pass between the air and the bloodstream through the wall of the alveoli.

Anatomy examples:

  • The lung and airways
  • The bronchioles and alveoli
  • The lungs
  • Pulmonary vessels

Last Updated: Nov 4, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Dropped Lung References
  1. Bulajich B, Subotich D, Mandarich D, Kljajich RV, Gajich M. Influence of atmospheric pressure, outdoor temperature, and weather phases on the onset of spontaneous pneumothorax. Ann Epidemiol. 2005 Mar;15(3):185-90. [15723762]
  2. Gilligan P, Hegarty D, Hassan TB. The point of the needle. Occult pneumothorax: a review. Emerg Med J. 2003 May;20(3):293-6. [12748158]
  3. Peikert T, Gillespie DJ, Cassivi SD. Catamenial pneumothorax. Mayo Clin Proc. 2005 May;80(5):677-80. [15887438]
  4. Putukian M. Pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum. Clin Sports Med. 2004 Jul;23(3):443-54, x. [15262381]
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