Thoracic plane

Assoc Prof Craig Hacking and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The thoracic plane, also known as the transthoracic plane or the plane of Ludwig is an artificial horizontal plane used to divide the mediastinum into the superior mediastinum and the inferior mediastinum.

It is defined as a horizontal line that runs from the manubriosternal joint (sternal angle or angle of Louis) to the inferior endplate of T4 1. Above the thoracic plane is the superior mediastinum and below the thoracic plane is the inferior mediastinum. 

A number of important structures are transected by the thoracic plane 1:

Related articles

Anatomy: Thoracic


Article information

rID: 22288
System: Chest
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Transverse thoracic plane
  • Transthoracic plane
  • Plane of Ludwig

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