Respiratory System: Differences Between the Left and Right Lung

What are the differences between the left and right lungs? Hop right on down to learn about our left and right lungs. Impress your family, friends, teachers, or colleagues with these fun facts. Learning about them will take your breath away. 😉

  1. True or False? The left lung is smaller than the right lung.

True! Our left lung is indeed smaller than the right lung. Because our heart is mostly on the left side of our midline, our left lung accommodates for our heart with a cardiac notch, which is basically a lateral deflection of the lung to give more space for the heart.

  1. True or False? Despite different sizes, the left lung and right lung have similar shapes.

False. The left and right lungs actually are shaped slightly differently. The right lung is broader in shape compared to the left lung because the heart is located mostly on our left side; thus, our left lung cannot be as broad in shape. Although the left lung is not broad, the left lung is longer than the right one. This is because our liver sits right underneath the right side of our diaphragm, so our right lung cannot be so long to interfere with the liver. On the other hand, the left lung does not have the massive liver underneath. The diaphragm thus extends slightly lower and deeper, allowing a longer left lung to exist.

Moosmosis Adventures of Lungs_ Left vs Right Lung

                Summary Comparison of Size and Shape Between Left and Right Lung

Right Lung is Larger > Left Lung

Right Lung is Broader > Left Lung

Right Lung is Heavier > Left Lung

Right Lung is Shorter < Left Lung

Left Lung is Longer > Right Lung

  1. True or False? The right lung has three lobes, while the left lung has two lobes.

True. The right lung does have 3 lobes, and the left lung has 2! Lobes are sections in which our two human lungs are divided into. As we mentioned earlier, our right lung is broader and bigger than the left lung, so it logically makes sense that the right has one more lobe or section than the left lung has.

  •                 Right Lung = 3 Lobes (Upper, Middle, and Lower Lobe

  •                  Left Lung = 2 Lobes (Upper and Lower Lobe)

    Do you see the sections within each lung? The right lung has 3 sections: superior (upper) lobe, middle lobe, and inferior (lower) lobe. How many sections do you see in the left lung? Source: Wikimedia Commons Anatomy Lungs

 

  1. True or False? The left lung has an oblique fissure, while the right lung has both an oblique fissure AND horizontal fissure.

True. That is correct. As we can see in the diagram below, the right lung has an additional fissure that runs almost horizontally, separating the upper and middle lobe of the right lung. This fissure is thus known as the horizontal fissure

  •               Right Lung= 2 Fissures = Oblique and Horizontal Fissure

  •                 Left Lung = 1 Fissures = Oblique Fissure

 

Moosmosis Adventures of Lungs _ Fissures

  1. Bronchopulmonary segments are independent respiratory units within the lung that are supplied with their own tertiary segmental bronchus and arterial branch.

 True or False? The left lung and right lung have equal number of bronchopulmonary segements.

False. The right lung has more bronchopulmonary segments than the left lung. Specifically, the right lung has 10, and the left lung has 8 segments. To remember this more easily, we can always go back and remember that the right lung is broader, heavier, and larger than the left lung. The right lung thus has more lobes, fissures, and bronchopulmonary segments than the left lung!

  •                 Right Lung = 10 Bronchopulmonary segements

  •                 Left Lung = 8 Bronchopulmonary segments

Despite their differences, the right and left lung operate well together. After all, they belung together. Get it? Belung? 😉

Moosmosis Lung Pun Comic_ We Belung together

Enjoyed these lovely lung facts? We hoped they blew you away. Feel free to leave us a comment, subscribe, or support us on Facebook by giving us a thumbs up Like. Thank you for visiting Moosmosis.org, our open-access youth education site!

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22 thoughts on “Respiratory System: Differences Between the Left and Right Lung

  1. Laura M Bailey says:

    Very interesting! During my accident ( see post The horse came back alone) they had to go through my side to repair shattered back. In the process, the collapsed my left lung. I had a lot of difficulties with the lung over the 21 days in ICU. Years later, if I get sick, its always the left lung thats affected.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Moosmosis says:

      Hi Laura, Thank you for stopping by! We’re glad you’re back on your feet from the horse back riding accident! That must have been frightening. Our lungs are very unique – in fact, the left and right lung are isolated from one another, so when one lung collapses, this does not affect the other lung. Perhaps, this biological phenonmenon may explain why your left lung is the only one affected when sick. Wishing you the best health! Beautiful site you’ve got, by the way. 🙂

      Like

    1. Moosmosis says:

      Thank you so much for your support, Samuel! 🙂 We’re glad you liked our art. We tried to make this post both educational and fun, with some goofy-looking lungs.

      Like

    1. Moosmosis says:

      We’re so glad you’re recovered now, Jim!! Bronchitis is no fun, especially with all that airway inflammation, coughing up mucus, etc. Just reminds us how important our pair of healthy lungs is! Thank you also for liking our educational post! Wishing you good health and happiness. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. P26 says:

    I really liked this article. It really helped me to understand just how different each of the lungs are. And yes, though different, they certainly “be-lung” together! XD

    Liked by 2 people

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