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Hilum vs. Root of Lung: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 20, 2024
The hilum of the lung is the entry and exit site for structures like bronchi and blood vessels, while the root of the lung is the collection of these structures bound together by pleura.

Key Differences

The hilum of the lung is a specific area on each lung's medial surface where structures like bronchi, blood vessels, and nerves enter and exit. The root of the lung, conversely, is a broader term encompassing these structures as they are grouped together and surrounded by pleura before they branch into the lung.
The hilum acts as a crucial passageway, allowing for the transfer of air and blood to and from the lungs. The root of the lung, including these passageways, is essential for the lung's attachment to the trachea and heart, playing a vital role in respiratory function.
Located at the mediastinal surface of each lung, the hilum is a key landmark in pulmonary anatomy. The root of the lung, situated at the hilum, extends into the lung, forming its central structural foundation.
In medical imaging, the hilum is often examined for abnormalities like lymph node enlargement or tumors. The root of the lung, given its complex composition, is a focal point in understanding respiratory diseases and surgical procedures.
The hilum is an anatomical region, while the root of the lung is a structural entity comprising various anatomical components that pass through the hilum.

Comparison Chart


Entry/exit site for lung structures
Collection of structures entering/exiting the lung


Includes bronchi, vessels, nerves
Encompasses all structures plus pleural covering

Functional Role

Facilitates air and blood transfer
Supports lung's attachment and respiratory function

Anatomical Location

Medial surface of the lung
Extends from the hilum into the lung

Clinical Significance

Examined for pulmonary abnormalities
Important in respiratory disease and surgery

Hilum and Root of Lung Definitions


The region on the lung where structures like bronchi and blood vessels enter and exit.
The radiologist noticed an abnormality at the hilum of the patient's lung.

Root of Lung

The complex structure where the lung is attached to the trachea and blood vessels.
The root of the lung was examined for potential surgical complications.


A vital area for the passage of respiratory and vascular structures into the lung.
Enlarged lymph nodes were detected at the hilum in the CT scan.

Root of Lung

Comprises bronchi, arteries, veins, and nerves, all sheathed in pleura.
Inflammation was detected at the root of the lung, indicating a possible infection.


The medial aspect of the lung serving as a key anatomical landmark.
During the anatomy class, we focused on identifying the hilum of the lung.

Root of Lung

A site of medical interest for diagnosing and treating pulmonary conditions.
The biopsy taken from the root of the lung helped diagnose the patient's condition.


Often a focal point in the study of lung diseases and disorders.
The patient's lung cancer originated near the hilum.

Root of Lung

Involved in the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lung and blood.
Any damage to the root of the lung can severely impact respiratory efficiency.


Central to the lung's connection with the rest of the respiratory system.
The surgeon carefully navigated around the hilum during the procedure.

Root of Lung

Essential for the functional integration of the lung within the respiratory system.
The root of the lung plays a critical role in both breathing and blood circulation.


The scar on a seed, such as a bean, indicating the point of attachment to the funiculus.


Is the root of the lung visible in an X-ray?

It may not be distinctly visible, but its components can be inferred.

Can diseases affect the hilum of the lung?

Yes, diseases like cancer or infections can manifest at the hilum.

What role does the root of the lung play in respiration?

It facilitates the transfer of gases between the lung and blood vessels.

Can the hilum be a site for lung cancer?

Yes, lung cancer can originate or spread to the hilum.

What is the hilum of the lung?

The hilum is the area where structures like bronchi and blood vessels enter and exit the lung.

What does the root of the lung contain?

It contains bronchi, arteries, veins, and nerves, all surrounded by pleura.

How is the hilum clinically significant?

It's significant in diagnosing lung diseases through imaging studies.

Are the hilum and root of the lung involved in lung transplants?

Yes, they are crucial in connecting a transplanted lung to the recipient's body.

How is the root of the lung protected?

It's encased in pleura, providing protection and structural integrity.

Is the hilum different in the right and left lungs?

The basic structure is similar, but the branching patterns of vessels and bronchi differ.

How are the hilum and root of lung examined?

Through imaging tests like CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays.

Can infections spread through the root of the lung?

Infections can spread via the bronchi and blood vessels at the root.

Is the root of the lung a common site for surgical complications?

Yes, due to its complexity and the presence of major structures.

Does smoking affect the hilum or root of the lung?

Smoking can lead to diseases that may involve both areas.

What happens if the hilum is damaged?

Damage can disrupt air flow and blood circulation to the lung.

What surgeries involve the root of the lung?

Procedures like lobectomy and pneumonectomy involve the root.

Can the hilum be affected by heart conditions?

Indirectly, as heart conditions can impact blood vessels connected to the hilum.

How does the hilum affect lung function?

Any abnormality at the hilum can impact overall lung function.

Can bronchitis affect the root of the lung?

Yes, as it involves inflammation of the bronchi.

Are there any specific symptoms of hilum-related disorders?

Symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain can indicate hilum disorders.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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