High resolution CT anatomy of the pulmonary fissures

J Thorac Imaging. 2004 Jul;19(3):186-91. doi: 10.1097/01.rti.0000131590.74658.24.


Rationale and objectives: Pulmonary interlobar fissures are important landmarks for proper identification of normal pulmonary anatomy and evaluation of disease. The purpose of this study was to define the radiologic anatomy of the pulmonary fissures using high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) in a large population.

Methods: HRCT of the lungs from aortic arch to diaphragm was performed in 622 patients, with a slice thickness of 1 mm and slice interval of 10 mm. Major, minor, and accessory fissures were studied for their orientation and completeness.

Results: Both major fissures were mostly facing laterally in their upper parts (100% and 89% right and left, respectively). The left major fissure faced medially (69%) while the right major fissure faced lateral (60%) in their lower parts. The right major fissure was more often incomplete (48% as compared with 43% on the left, P < 0.05). Minor fissures were convex superiorly with the apex in the anterolateral part of the base of the upper lobe, and were incomplete in 63% of cases. Azygos, inferior accessory, superior accessory, and left minor fissures were also seen in 1.2%, 8.6%, 4.6%, and 6.1% of the cases, respectively.

Conclusion: The pulmonary fissures are highly variable and the right major fissure differs considerably from the left. The fissures are often incomplete.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / anatomy & histology
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*