Normal anatomy

Author: Adriana Handra-Luca, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 9 November 2017, last major update October 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Trachea [title] normal anatomy human

Cite this page: Handra-Luca, A. Normal anatomy. website. Accessed June 24th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Cartilaginous and membranous tube (also called windpipe), extending from lower larynx at C6 to upper border of T5 vertebrae, where it divides into right and left mainstem bronchi
  • Flattened posteriorly
  • 11 cm long, 2 - 2.5 cm in diameter, diameter greater in men than women, greater in adults than children
  • Anteriorly: contacts thyroid isthmus, inferior thyroid veins, neck muscles, cervical fascia, anterior jugular veins, manubrium sterni, thymus, left innominate vein, aortic arch, innominate and left common carotid arteries, deep cardiac plexus
  • Posteriorly: contacts esophagus
  • Right bronchus appears to be a more direct continuation of trachea and so is the site of most foreign bodies
  • Supplied by inferior thyroid arteries
Diagrams / tables

Images hosted on other servers:

Trachea and bronchi

Tracheal bifurcation