The lungs are the essential organs of respiration; they are two in number, placed one on either side within the thorax, and separated from each other by the heart and other contents of the mediastinum (Fig. 970). The substance of the lung is of a light, porous, spongy texture; it floats in water, and crepitates when handled, owing to the presence of air in the alveoli; it is also highly elastic; hence the retracted state of these organs when they are removed from the closed cavity of the thorax. The surface is smooth, shining, and marked out into numerous polyhedral areas, indicating the lobules of the organ: each of these areas is crossed by numerous lighter lines.
orders.—The inferior border (margo inferior) is thin and sharp where it separates the base from the costal surface and extends into the phrenicocostal sinus; medially where it divides the base from the mediastinal surface it is blunt and rounded. 9 The posterior border (margo posterior) is broad and rounded, and is received into the deep concavity on either side of the vertebral column. It is much longer than the anterior border, and projects, below, into the phrenicocostal sinus. 10
The anterior border (margo anterior) is thin and sharp, and overlaps the front of the pericardium. The anterior border of the rightlung is almost vertical, and projects into the costomediastinal sinus; that of the left presents, below, an angular notch, the cardiac notch, in which the pericardium is exposed. Opposite this notch the anterior margin of the left lung is situated some little distance lateral to the line of reflection of the corresponding part of the pleura.
The right lung is divided into three lobes, superior, middle, and inferior, by two interlobular fissures. One of these separates the inferior from the middle and superior lobes, and corresponds closely with the fissure in the left lung. Its direction is, however, more vertical, and it cuts the lower border about 7.5 cm. behind its anterior extremity. The other fissure separates the superior from the middle lobe. It begins in the previous fissure near the posterior border of the lung, and, running horizontally forward, cuts the anterior border on a level with the sternal end of the fourth costal cartilage; on the mediastinal surface it may be traced backward to the hilus. The middle lobe, the smallest lobe of the right lung, is wedge-shaped, and includes the lower part of the anterior border and the anterior part of the base of the lung.
Vessels and Nerves.—The pulmonary artery conveys the venous blood to the lungs; it divides into branches which accompany the bronchial tubes and end in a dense capillary net-work in the walls of the alveoli. In the lung the branches of the pulmonary artery are usually above and in front of a bronchial tube, the vein below. 29 The pulmonary capillaries form plexuses which lie immediately beneath the lining epithelium, in the walls and septa of the alveoli and of the infundibula. In the septa between the alveoli the capillary net-work forms a single layer. The capillaries form a very minute net-work, the meshes of which are smaller than the vessels themselves; their walls are also exceedingly thin. The arteries of neighboring lobules are independent of each other, but the veins freely anastomose.