Thickness of Cadaveric Human Lung Tissue


Background: Choosing the correct surgical staple height is dependent on knowledge of specific tissue thickness and compressibility. The purpose of this study was to measure the thickness of cadaveric human lung tissue. Materials and Methods: Between December 2012 and February 2013, whole lungs were procured from 12 donors. Inclusion criteria included negative serology, no prior thoracic surgery, and completion of measurements within 72 hours of death. Tissue thickness was measured in the anterior-to-posterior direction using a tissue measuring device (TMD) at 41 lung locations. The tissue measuring device applied a constant pressure (8 g/mm2) via a plunger for 15 seconds before reading the thickness. Results: Cadaveric lung tissue thickness displayed a large variation by location and within each location. Mean thickness in the anterior-to-posterior direction ranged from 1.5 mm (right middle lobe [inferior peripheral] location) to 9.0 mm (right inferior lobe [mid-central] location). In general, the periphery of the lung lobes was thinner than the central locations (e.g., mean peripheral location thickness: 4.1 mm; mean central location thickness: 5.9 mm). The thinnest tissues among the 12 donor cadaveric lung specimens were found in the one donor with a history of severe emphysema/chronic bronchitis. Height (P = 0.012) and weight (P = 0.036) were positively correlated with tissue thickness. Additionally, after adjusting for height, cadaveric lung tissue was 3.0 mm thicker for females than males. Conclusions: Large variations of lung tissue thickness were demonstrated throughout the lung as well as within each measured location across different cadaveric specimens. Generally, peripheral locations were thinner than the central locations of the lobes. There was a strong positive correlation between thickness and height, and females had slightly thicker lung tissue than males of the same height.


Edward G. Chekan, MD, FACS, Medical Director, Worldwide Medical & Clinical Affairs, Teleflex, Inc., Morrisville, NC, John F. Cummings, PhD, Research Fellow, Preclinical Research, Ethicon, Inc., Cincinnati, OH, Isaac Mabe, MS, Research Associate, Research and Development, Community Tissue Services, Inc., Kettering, OH, Shawn Hunter, PhD, Director, Research and Development, Community Tissue Services, Inc., Kettering, OH, Jeffrey W. Clymer, PhD, Biostatistician, Preclinical Research, Ethicon, Inc., Cincinnati, OH

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