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Thoracic cavity

Thoracic cavity
Body cavities
The thorax from the right.
Latin cavitas thoracis
Gray's subject #136 524
Dorlands/Elsevier c_16/12220616

The thoracic cavity (or chest cavity) is the chamber of the human body (and other animal bodies) that is protected by the thoracic wall (thoracic cage and associated skin, muscle, and fascia).


Structures within the thoracic cavity include:

It contains three potential spaces lined with mesothelium: the paired pleural cavities and the pericardial cavity. The mediastinum comprises those organs which lie in the centre of the chest between the lungs.


The thoracic cavity is separated from the abdominal cavity by the diaphragm. The thoracic inlet is the upper limit of the thoracic cavity, formed by the manubrium in front, the first ribs laterally, and the spine posteriorly.

Clinical significance

If the pleural cavity is breached from the outside, as by a bullet wound or knife wound, a pneumothorax, or air in the cavity, may result. If the volume of air is significant, one or both lungs may collapse, which requires immediate medical attention.

anterior abdominal wall (Arcuate line, Linea alba, Tendinous intersection, Linea semilunaris, McBurney's point, Traube's space, Inguinal triangle) • Inguinal canal (Deep inguinal ring, Superficial inguinal ring, Intercrural fibers, Crura of superficial inguinal ring) • Lumbar triangle • regions (Epigastrium, Hypochondrium, Umbilical region, Latus, Hypogastrium, Inguinal region) • planes (Transpyloric plane, Intertubercular plane, Midclavicular line)

fascia (Fascia of Camper, Fascia of Scarpa, Transversalis fascia, Renal fascia, Rectus sheath)
Pelvic cavity
Pelvic floor • Retropubic space
fascia (Pelvic fascia, Superior fascia of diaphragm of pelvis, Inferior fascia of diaphragm of pelvis, Fascia of the Obturator internus, Tendinous arch, Iliac fascia)
PerineumAnal triangle (Ischioanal fossa, Pudendal canal, Anococcygeal raphe)

Urogenital triangle (Superficial perineal pouch, Deep perineal pouch)

Perineal body

fascia (Dartos/fascia of perineum/superficial perineal fascia/Fascia of Colles, Perineal membrane/"Inferior fascia of UGD", "Superior fascia of UGD")
  This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Thoracic_cavity". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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