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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Discuss the components that make up the thoracic cage
  • Identify the parts of the sternum and define the sternal angle
  • Discuss the parts of a rib and rib classifications

The thoracic cage (rib cage) forms the thorax (chest) portion of the body. It consists of the 12 pairs of ribs with their costal cartilages and the sternum ( [link] ). The ribs are anchored posteriorly to the 12 thoracic vertebrae (T1–T12). The thoracic cage protects the heart and lungs.

Thoracic cage

This figure shows the skeletal structure of the rib cage. The left panel shows the anterior view of the sternum and the right panel shows the anterior panel of the sternum including the entire rib cage.
The thoracic cage is formed by the (a) sternum and (b) 12 pairs of ribs with their costal cartilages. The ribs are anchored posteriorly to the 12 thoracic vertebrae. The sternum consists of the manubrium, body, and xiphoid process. The ribs are classified as true ribs (1–7) and false ribs (8–12). The last two pairs of false ribs are also known as floating ribs (11–12).

Sternum

The sternum is the elongated bony structure that anchors the anterior thoracic cage. It consists of three parts: the manubrium, body, and xiphoid process. The manubrium    is the wider, superior portion of the sternum. The top of the manubrium has a shallow, U-shaped border called the jugular (suprasternal) notch    . This can be easily felt at the anterior base of the neck, between the medial ends of the clavicles. The clavicular notch    is the shallow depression located on either side at the superior-lateral margins of the manubrium. This is the site of the sternoclavicular joint, between the sternum and clavicle. The first ribs also attach to the manubrium.

The elongated, central portion of the sternum is the body. The manubrium and body join together at the sternal angle    , so called because the junction between these two components is not flat, but forms a slight bend. The second rib attaches to the sternum at the sternal angle. Since the first rib is hidden behind the clavicle, the second rib is the highest rib that can be identified by palpation. Thus, the sternal angle and second rib are important landmarks for the identification and counting of the lower ribs. Ribs 3–7 attach to the sternal body.

The inferior tip of the sternum is the xiphoid process    . This small structure is cartilaginous early in life, but gradually becomes ossified starting during middle age.

Ribs

Each rib is a curved, flattened bone that contributes to the wall of the thorax. The ribs articulate posteriorly with the T1–T12 thoracic vertebrae, and most attach anteriorly via their costal cartilages to the sternum. There are 12 pairs of ribs. The ribs are numbered 1–12 in accordance with the thoracic vertebrae.

Parts of a typical rib

The posterior end of a typical rib is called the head of the rib    (see [link] ). This region articulates primarily with the costal facet located on the body of the same numbered thoracic vertebra and to a lesser degree, with the costal facet located on the body of the next higher vertebra. Lateral to the head is the narrowed neck of the rib    . A small bump on the posterior rib surface is the tubercle of the rib    , which articulates with the facet located on the transverse process of the same numbered vertebra. The remainder of the rib is the body of the rib    (shaft). Just lateral to the tubercle is the angle of the rib    , the point at which the rib has its greatest degree of curvature. The angles of the ribs form the most posterior extent of the thoracic cage. In the anatomical position, the angles align with the medial border of the scapula. A shallow costal groove    for the passage of blood vessels and a nerve is found along the inferior margin of each rib.

Rib classifications

The bony ribs do not extend anteriorly completely around to the sternum. Instead, each rib ends in a costal cartilage    . These cartilages are made of hyaline cartilage and can extend for several inches. Most ribs are then attached, either directly or indirectly, to the sternum via their costal cartilage (see [link] ). The ribs are classified into three groups based on their relationship to the sternum.

Ribs 1–7 are classified as true ribs    (vertebrosternal ribs). The costal cartilage from each of these ribs attaches directly to the sternum. Ribs 8–12 are called false ribs    (vertebrochondral ribs). The costal cartilages from these ribs do not attach directly to the sternum. For ribs 8–10, the costal cartilages are attached to the cartilage of the next higher rib. Thus, the cartilage of rib 10 attaches to the cartilage of rib 9, rib 9 then attaches to rib 8, and rib 8 is attached to rib 7. The last two false ribs (11–12) are also called floating ribs    (vertebral ribs). These are short ribs that do not attach to the sternum at all. Instead, their small costal cartilages terminate within the musculature of the lateral abdominal wall.

Chapter review

The thoracic cage protects the heart and lungs. It is composed of 12 pairs of ribs with their costal cartilages and the sternum. The ribs are anchored posteriorly to the 12 thoracic vertebrae. The sternum consists of the manubrium, body, and xiphoid process. The manubrium and body are joined at the sternal angle, which is also the site for attachment of the second ribs.

Ribs are flattened, curved bones and are numbered 1–12. Posteriorly, the head of the rib articulates with the costal facets located on the bodies of thoracic vertebrae and the rib tubercle articulates with the facet located on the vertebral transverse process. The angle of the ribs forms the most posterior portion of the thoracic cage. The costal groove in the inferior margin of each rib carries blood vessels and a nerve. Anteriorly, each rib ends in a costal cartilage. True ribs (1–7) attach directly to the sternum via their costal cartilage. The false ribs (8–12) either attach to the sternum indirectly or not at all. Ribs 8–10 have their costal cartilages attached to the cartilage of the next higher rib. The floating ribs (11–12) are short and do not attach to the sternum or to another rib.

Questions & Answers

what are data colletion method in community diagnodis
loice Reply
50 prefix and surfix
Martha Reply
why arteries deeper than veins?!
Cismaan Reply
arteries colour of blood is deeper than that of vein because its blood contains oxygen which is adhered to haemoglobin(a protein which gives the blood its red color) , while vein contains deoxygenated blood(blood without oxygen)
olusoga
As we know, vein carries used blood to the heart. when we say used blood, we mean to say, blood that its content(oxygen and other nutrients) has been used up.
olusoga
Arteries are deeper b'cuz they need to be protected.......If they are ruptured they cannot form clot and repair themselves.... Moreover, the pressure of blood is too high for the artery to form the clot and repair itself....... Hence, Arteries are deeper than veins........
AMEL
Than u all. Special thanks too AMEL JEELANI.
Cismaan
You're welcome......
AMEL
Thanks all
describe the location of the macula densa and explain its role in the regulation of renin secretion and in tubuglomerular feedback
mwamba Reply
its located near the vascular pole of the glomurelus also regulate blood pressure and the filtration rate of glomurelus
adam
what are the three methods of data collection used during a community diagnosis
loice
Interviews. Questionnaires and Surveys. Observations.
edna
Describe two early induced responses and what pathogens they affect
olivia Reply
what are pathogens
Priscilla
pathogens are disease-causing agents/organisms
olusoga
pathogen are the causative of disease
Marco
thank you sister
Priscilla
mmmmm
Asad
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Asad
What are organelles
RAPHERA Reply
The are little organs found in cells of living things... Eg gogi apparatus
Lombe
what is anatomy
Linda Reply
is the study of the structures of the body and how they relates to each other
Agyemang
Anatomy is the study of the structures of body parts and how they relates to each other
Agyemang
is the study of the structure of the body and how they relates to each other
NAOMI
what are the difference between Pacinian corpuscle and cutaneous vascular plexus?
thivya Reply
what are membranous epithelial tissues
Naa Reply
they are the lining and covering epithelial tissues which cover body surfaces and line cavities... they're grouped into simple and stratified according to the number of layers and squamous, cuboidal and columnar according to their shape
Ophelia
what is an acina
Nuella
acina is known to be the basic functional unit of the lungs .(singular:- acinus) this is where the alveoli(the gaseous exchange site) is found...
Fatukasi
what happens to the unfertilized egg
Wuraola
the study of tissues is called
Scandy Reply
histology
Sirius
microscopic or histology anatomy
Shan
What specific types of biological macromolecules do living things require and why?
Marieland Reply
what is partial pressure?
Tariq Reply
it is the pressure exerted by mixture of gases...
Fatukasi
What is the Important of studying anatomy and philosophy
Michael Reply
because to know the mechanisms of our body
Tariq
to discover the regional structural of human body based on physically and also biochemically.
thivya
how many region do we have in human body
nsofor Reply
head thorax abdomen and many kind of...
Shan
what is principal ponatine nucleas
Tariq
Human body can be divided into different regions on the basis of: 1. Systems: e.g. digestive system, respiratory system, excretory system etc.. 2. Parts: e.g. head, thorax, neck, upper limbs, lower limbs etc..
AMEL
we have 9 region in d human body
ZAINAB
what is systematic anatomy?
nsofor Reply
it is the anatomy or study of a certain body system for example the digestive system. or respiratory system.
Summer
It is a group of structure that work together to perform a unique function..
RAPHERA

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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