Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Lung Mesothelioma Anatomy

To better understand mesothelioma, 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: Feb 8, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Lung Mesothelioma References
  1. Laden F, Stampfer MJ, Walker AM. Lung cancer and mesothelioma among male automobile mechanics: a review. Rev Environ Health. 2004 Jan-Mar;19(1):39-61. [15186039]
  2. Maziak DE, Gagliardi A, Haynes AE, Mackay JA, Evans WK; Cancer Care Ontario Program in Evidence-based Care Lung Cancer Disease Site Group. Surgical management of malignant pleural mesothelioma: a systematic review and evidence summary. Lung Cancer. 2005 May;48(2):157-69. [15829316]
  3. van Ruth S, Baas P, Zoetmulder FA. Surgical treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma: a review. Chest. 2003 Feb;123(2):551-61. [12576380]
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