sternum and rib cage

Sternum: Anatomy and function (Associated pathologies)

Le sternum is a bone located in the middle of your chest. It plays an important role in protecting your heart and lungs, and helping you breathe properly.


In this article, we will discuss the anatomy and function of the sternum, as well as some common problems that can occur with this bone.

Anatomy of the thoracic region


La thoracic region can be divided into three main parts: the rib cage, the diaphragm and the spine thoracic. The rib cage consists of 12 pairs of ribs that attach to the sternum in the front and to the thoracic spine in the back.


anatomy of the rib cage and ribs


The ribs protect the lungs, heart, and other organs in the chest. The diaphragm is a large muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. The thoracic spine is made up of 12 vertebrae that surround and protect the spinal cord.


The ribs and vertebrae are connected by muscles, ligaments and tendons. These structures work together to allow the chest to expand and contract during breathing.



Sternum anatomy


Le sternum, also known as the sternum, is a long, flat bone that forms the center of the chest. It is connected to the ribs by cartilage, thus forming the rib cage.




The sternum performs several important functions, including protecting the heart and lungs. It also provides attachment points for the muscles that move the arms and shoulders. The anatomy of the sternum is quite simple. It consists of three main parts:


  • Manubrium. This is the upper chest. This is where the collarbone and the first set of ribs meet. The lower part of the handle borders the body of the sternum. Your second set of edges connects at this point.


  • The body is the middle part of the sternum, and also the longest. Your set of ribs three through seven are connected to the body of your sternum by cartilage.


  • The xiphoid process. This is the lower chest. Its shape may vary. The xiphoid process is made up mostly of cartilage and gradually begins to calcify with age.


Together, these three parts form a strong and protective cage around some of the body's most vital organs.



What is the function of the sternum?


Your sternum performs two very important functions:




  • Protection. Along with the ribs, your sternum protects your trunk organs like your heart, lungs, and blood vessels in your chest.


  • Support. Your sternum also provides a connection point for other parts of your skeletal system, including your collarbone and most of your ribs. Certain muscles in the chest and upper abdomen also connect to the sternum.



Associated pathologies


The sternum is a strong bone, but it can sometimes suffer from injury and disease. The most common sternum problems are:


  1. Breastbone fracture. These fractures can be the result of a serious chest injury, such as a car accident. Common symptoms include severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, and a tearing or pulling sensation in the chest.


  1. Tight chest syndrome or sternal syndrome. This problem is more common in women and can cause chest pain, difficulty breathing, and a feeling of pressure in the chest.


  1. Persistent cough or chronic cough. Cough is a common symptom of various illnesses, including asthma, bronchitis, and lung cancer. If you have a cough that lasts longer than two weeks, or is associated with other symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, see your doctor.


  1. Breast cancer. Sternum cancer is rare, but can sometimes start in bone cells. Common symptoms include chest pain and difficulty breathing.


  1. Sternum excavatum. It is a congenital malformation of the sternum, in which the bone is dug or sunken. Symptoms are usually minor, but may include chest pain and a feeling of decompression or pressure.



If you suffer from any of these problems or have any unusual symptoms, see your doctor. Some of these conditions can be treated, but others can be more serious and require surgery.

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