Difference Wiki

Right Lung vs. Left Lung: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 11, 2023
The right lung, with three lobes, is larger but shorter due to liver displacement, while the left lung, with two lobes, is smaller and has a cardiac notch to accommodate the heart.

Key Differences

Right lung and left lung are integral components of the respiratory system, enabling oxygen intake and carbon dioxide expulsion. The right lung, consisting of three lobes, has a broader shape and shorter stature due to the liver beneath it. Contrarily, the left lung features two lobes and displays a longer, narrower shape due to the heart's positioning.
In terms of function, both the right lung and the left lung participate in the vital process of respiration, however, their structural differences cater to other anatomical nuances. The right lung's volume is significantly larger, compensating for the smaller left lung, which is designed to make space for the heart within the thoracic cavity.
Examining the position in the body, the right lung is situated on the right side of the thoracic cavity, separated from the left lung by the mediastinum. On the flip side, the left lung, positioned on the left side, has a distinct, concave cardiac notch, accommodating the heart and contributing to its smaller size relative to the right lung.
Considering health implications, conditions may distinctly affect the right lung and left lung due to their varied shapes and sizes. For instance, the right lung is often more susceptible to aspiration pneumonia due to the more vertical orientation of its primary bronchus, in contrast to the left lung.
From an anatomical perspective, the fissures within the right lung and left lung also exhibit distinctions. The right lung features oblique and horizontal fissures, creating its three lobes: superior, middle, and inferior. Conversely, the left lung contains only an oblique fissure, dividing it into just two lobes: superior and inferior.

Comparison Chart


Two (right lung)
Two (left lung)


Ten (right lung)
Nine (left lung)

Consonant Letters

Six (right lung)
Six (left lung)

Vowel Letters

Four (right lung)
Three (left lung)

Usage in Sentences

Mostly used with 'larger,' 'broader,' etc.
Often used with 'smaller,' 'notch,' etc.

Right Lung and Left Lung Definitions

Right Lung

The right lung is the larger lung situated on the right side of the human chest.
The right lung is generally more susceptible to aspiration due to its more vertical bronchus.

Left Lung

The left lung is the smaller lung, positioned on the left side of the thoracic cavity.
The left lung is shaped to allow space for the heart’s positioning within the chest.

Right Lung

The right lung’s broad stature necessitates adjustment to its lower position, accommodating the liver.
In a chest X-ray, the right lung’s positioning is visibly adjusted to cater to the liver’s size.

Left Lung

With two lobes, the left lung facilitates oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange during respiration.
Though smaller, the left lung plays a vital role in sustaining optimal oxygen levels in the blood.

Right Lung

Characterized by a larger volume, the right lung significantly contributes to respiratory function.
Health conditions affecting the right lung can have considerable impacts on overall respiratory health.

Left Lung

Though marginally smaller, the left lung is crucial in supporting life-sustaining respiratory activities.
Conditions like pneumonia can significantly hamper the left lung’s capacity to facilitate oxygen exchange.

Right Lung

Possessing three lobes, the right lung accommodates for optimal oxygen transport and CO2 expulsion.
A deep inhale visibly expands the right lung, crucial for adequate oxygenation of blood.

Left Lung

Integral to respiration, the left lung operates in tandem with the right lung, managing airflow.
Ensuring the health of the left lung is pivotal for maintaining balanced respiratory function.

Right Lung

Encased within the ribcage, the right lung’s structural integrity supports effective respiratory action.
Injury to the ribcage can impair the right lung's functionality, compromising respiratory efficacy.

Left Lung

The left lung features a cardiac notch, providing spatial accommodation for the heart.
The cardiac notch gives the left lung a distinctive, slightly curved appearance on radiographic images.


Why is the right lung larger than the left lung?

The right lung is larger to compensate for the left lung’s space allocation for the heart.

What is the cardiac notch and which lung is it associated with?

The cardiac notch is a concave space in the left lung that allows room for the heart.

How do the positions of the right lung and left lung affect their shapes?

The right lung is broader and shorter due to the liver beneath it, while the left lung is narrower and has a cardiac notch to accommodate the heart.

Do the right lung and left lung have the same structure in all individuals?

Generally yes, but variations and anomalies can exist, such as lung fissure variations or rare conditions like dextrocardia.

What is the main function of the right lung and left lung?

Both the right lung and left lung facilitate the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide during respiration.

How do age and other factors influence the health and function of the right lung and left lung?

Aging, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices like smoking can adversely affect the health and function of both lungs.

Are the right lung and left lung susceptible to the same diseases?

Yes, both lungs can be affected by similar conditions, but some illnesses may preferentially impact one lung.

Can surgeries like lobectomies be performed on both the right lung and left lung?

Yes, lobectomies can be performed on lobes of both the right lung and left lung depending on the medical condition.

Why is the right lung often more susceptible to aspirated objects?

The right main bronchus is wider and more vertically oriented than the left, making it a more direct path for aspirated objects.

What role does the pleura play in protecting the right lung and left lung?

The pleura, a thin membrane, encases both the right lung and left lung, providing protection and reducing friction during breathing.

Are the right lung and left lung affected differently in certain diseases?

Some conditions may impact them differently due to their structural differences, such as right-sided aspiration pneumonia.

What kind of preventive measures can protect the right lung and left lung from diseases?

Smoking cessation, avoiding pollutants, regular exercise, and vaccinations can protect both the right lung and left lung.

Can a person survive with just the right lung or left lung?

Yes, people can survive with just one lung, but their respiratory capacity and physical abilities might be limited.

How many lobes do the right lung and left lung each have?

The right lung has three lobes, while the left lung has two.

Can the right lung and left lung function independently?

Yes, each lung can function independently, but they work best in tandem to provide adequate oxygen to the body.

How do physicians distinguish issues between the right lung and left lung?

Through diagnostic tools like X-rays, CT scans, and physical examination, physicians can discern issues in the right lung or left lung.

How do the right lung and left lung react to changes in air pressure during breathing?

Both lungs expand and contract during breathing, adjusting to changes in air pressure to facilitate gas exchange.

Can the right lung and left lung regenerate tissue after damage?

Lungs have limited regenerative capacity; small areas of damage may heal, but extensive damage could result in permanent loss of function.

Is lung capacity equally distributed between the right lung and left lung?

No, the right lung typically has a slightly larger capacity due to its larger size compared to the left lung.

Are the right lung and left lung equally accessible during surgical procedures?

Each lung presents unique challenges due to their respective anatomical nuances and neighboring organs.
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.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons