Difference Between Right and Left Lung

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The work of the respiratory system of the body is to extract oxygen from the atmosphere and to transfer it to the bloodstream. It also collects carbon dioxide from the body and releases it into the atmosphere. Lungs are a critical part of the respiratory system and are located in the thoracic cavity of the chest. They are conical in shape and are divided by lobes and fissure.


The two lungs are known as the left lung and the right lung. The primary function of the lungs is to breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide but there is a difference between right and left lung based on several factors. The experts at Vedantu have summarised these lung differences between right and left in an easy to understand format.


Left Lung

The left lung is located on the left of the heart and has a concave impression to accommodate the heart. This impression is known as the cardiac notch and it makes the left lung smaller than the right one. An important difference between the right lung and the left lung is the size.


Right Lung

The right lung is located on the right side of the respiratory system and is shorter than the left lung. It is to accommodate the diaphragm, which rises higher towards the right side over the liver.


Let’s look at the right lung and left lung differences in detail.


Criteria

Left Lung

Right Lung

Location

It is located on the left side of the respiratory system 

It is located on the right side

Diaphragm

The diaphragm separates the base of the lung from the stomach and the spleen

The diaphragm separates the base of the lung from the liver

Structure

It is narrow and long

It is wider and 5 cms shorter than the left lung. 

Bronchus

There is only one bronchus

There are two bronchi in the right lung

Lobes

It has two lobes, a superior lobe, and an inferior lobe

There are three lobes in the right lung; superior lobe, middle lobe, and inferior lobe

Number of bronchopulmonary segments

The lobes are further divided into the bronchopulmonary segments. The left lung has 9-10 segments.  

It has 10 segments.

Weight 

The left lung is lighter than the right lung. The approx weight of the left lung is 650 gm

The right lung is heavier. The approx weight of the right lung is 700 gm

Shares space with 

The left lung shares space with the heart

The right lung shares its space with the liver

Number of fissures

It has one fissure. This fissure is oblique.

It has two fissures, one oblique and one horizontal. The oblique fissure separates the inferior lobe from the middle and superior lobes. The horizontal fissure separates the superior from the middle lobe

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Why is the Left Lung Smaller than the Right?

Ans. Although the right lung is shorter than the left lung, it also broader than the left lung. However, the left lung is smaller than the right lung because of the space taken up by the heart on the left side of the body where the left lung is located. Their size is an important difference between the right and left lung.

Q2. Do We Need Both the Lungs to Breathe?

Ans. In most cases, one lung can pump enough oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the body. It can help the body to perform daily activities without any problem. However, since only one lung is performing the function of two, it might get overworked sometimes. This would lead to breathlessness and fatigue especially at the time of doing exercise. It can also lead to pain, tiredness, and heart problems later.