Last update:

Trachea (or Windpipe) Location, Anatomy, and Physiology

  • The image descriptiontrachea (or windpipe) is a 4-5 inch (= 10-12 cm) vertical tube that runs through the neck and chest, just anterior to the image descriptionesophagus.
The trachea shown labeled and highlighted
The esophagus shown labeled and highlighted
1
2
3
  • Many consider the trachea to be the first portion of the lower respiratory tract, which also includes the bronchi, bronchioles, and lungs.
  • The trachea has a wide lumen (= 1 inch or 2.5 cm) and functions to image descriptionconduct air between the larynx and (primary) bronchi.
Anterior View of the Lungs
The larynx and primary bronchus labeled
Air is conducted in trachea
1
2
3
  • Embedded in the wall of the are 16 to 20 image descriptiontracheal rings made of hyaline cartilage.
The cartilage rings and esophagus on cross section view
1
2
  • The cartilage rings stiffen the tracheal wall so the lumen stays open during breathing.
  • In back, the rings are incomplete, giving them a characteristic image descriptionC-shape.
The cartilage rings and esophagus on cross section view
1
2

An Overview of the Trachea Location, Anatomy, and Physiology:

image descriptionShow/image descriptionHide answers

Test yourself on Trachea Location, Anatomy, and Physiology with answers hidden
Test yourself on Trachea Location, Anatomy, and Physiology with answers shown
1
2