Atlas of Human Anatomy in Cross Section: Appendix: Topography of the Thorax and Abdomen
Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Jean J. Jew, M.D., and Paul
C. Reimann, B.S.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed
In Eycleshymer and Schoemaker's specimen, the trachea began at the level of the upper third of the seventh cervical vertebra. Luschka and Hyrtl found it at the level of the fifth cervical vertebra. Braune, Gerlach, Gegenbaur, Rauber, Langer and Toldt, Joessel, Morris, and others place it at the level of the sixth cervical vertebra. Sappey, Merkel, and Corning place it opposite the sixth cervical disk; Nicholas (cited but not referenced in Eycleshymer and Schoemaker) and Piersol, opposite the seventh cervical vertebra; and Cunningham, opposite the sixth cervical spine.
The level of bifurcation of the trachea varies from the lower third of the fourth to the middle of the seventh thoracic vertebrae. The average position is at the level of the lower third of the fifth thoracic vertebra. Hyrtl, Testut, and Nicholas (cited but not referenced in Eycleshymer and Schoemaker) found it at the level of the third thoracic vertebra. Luschka, Sappey, Gegenbaur, Rudinger, Rauber, and Langer and Toldt place it at the level of the fourth thoracic vertebra. Joessel and Corning place it opposite the fourth or fifth thoracic vertebra. Henle, Merkel, and Bianchi and Cocchi place it at the level of the fifth thoracic vertebra. Gerlach and Cunningham state that its level is given by the tip of the third thoracic spine.
With reference to the anterior thoracic wall, Eycleshymer and Schoemaker reported that it lies opposite the upper margin of the costosternal junction of the second rib. Piersol found it opposite the manubriosternal junction.
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