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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

yellow marrow has been identified as
Raychelle Reply
Which of the following accurately describe external resipration
Gwendolyn Reply
from the heart to the lungs
Phee
I think it's not outside organ of respiratory all respiratory organ are inside of human body
Moha
diffusion of CO2 and oxygen at a pulmonary capillary surrounding an alveolar sac.
Jeremiah
In other words, from the external environment to the lungs (alveoli) then to the pulmonary capillary then to the heart. So this is a stage of inhalation. inhale = external respiration.
Jeremiah
What kind of discussion
horyaal Reply
what is the function of the placenta
Nchimunya Reply
The placenta acts to provide oxygen and nutrientsto the fetus, whilst removing carbon dioxide and other waste products.
Moha
Also it's the barrier through which the mother is connected to the fetus.
Samuel
I want to discuss... atherosclerosis.., everything about it, about to treatment n prevention at age 50 +
Doctors
Please participate in discussion
Doctors
ok let's discuss now
Moha
first define the word artherosclerosis
Moha
a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposition of fatty material on their inner walls.
tabe
hardening of the arteries, due to fats..
jenelyn
Q = which type of fat utilized for this.., I.e LDL, HDL, TG, VLDL...?
Doctors
Atherosclerosis is a condition of deposition of plaque inside the artries
Arvind
Plaque include such as fat, chalestrol, calcium etc
Arvind
Thank you kumar...., is there any way that we can protect these plaques without any medicines., I. e exercises n food stuffs
Doctors
go to the gym
Moha
what is chylomicrons?
Moha
how can plaque buildup in The angina or vessels ?
Moha
Atherosclerosis is a condition of deposition of plaque inside the artries
Doctors
atherosclerosis can also be caused by tortuousness of arteries with old age as contributing factor.
edward
You tube Prof Fink...he is an amazing lecturer and does a brilliant job on arteriosclerosis
Jacqueline
what are cell
Chigozie Reply
The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small container of chemicals and water wrapped in a membrane. 
Yusuf
cell is the structural and functional basic unit of life
Zaid
So every living thing was Created From a Cell
Anthony
from a fusion of two cells , the sperm and the egg
Shikoh
What is the only bone that doesn't have any articulation?
Jimmy
that magical fusion of cells
OBED
why body immune system attack and destroy the body own cell during type 1 diabetes?
Sanamacha Reply
It's an autoimmune disease... targeting the pancreas
Claudia
what are the three genetic defects of pregnancy?
Belinda Reply
structure of fallopian tubes
Akash Reply
what z the role played by the transport system
zinitha Reply
how fats are digested in the human body
Nabukwasi Reply
Fat digestion begins in the stomach but some argue in that it starts in the mouth. Reason is because the sublingual gland secretes an enzyme called lingual lipase. However, this enzyme is not activated until it comes into contact with gastric fluids (HCl). In the stomach, HCl breaks down the lipid..
Jeremiah
due to body heat
Mule
into smaller molecules. Going from a triglyceride and a fatty acid to a monoglyceride and a a fatty acid no longer bound to one another. This is known as lipolysis.
Jeremiah
After lipolysis in the stomach from gastric and lingual lipase, an acidic chyme is produced after stomach churning the bolus. The chyme exits the stomach at the pyloric sphincter and enters the first section of the small intestine known as the duodenum.
Jeremiah
in the duodenum. An alkaline mucus from goblet cells neutralizes the acidic chyme to prevent acid burns. After that, the pancreas and gallbladder secrete a number of enzymes to continue lipolysis. Bile from the gallbladder enters the duodenum via common bile duct. The acinar cells in the pancreas...
Jeremiah
secretes pancreatic lipase after enteroendocrine cells in the duodenum secrete a stimulator hormone called CCK. Cck stimulates bile synthesis and secretion as well as pancreatic lipase.
Jeremiah
Bile emuslifies the lipid, allowing the lipases to continue lipolysis
Jeremiah
this breakdown continues until it reaches the jejunum of the small intestines. At this point, the lipid has been broken down small enough to absorbed into the blood stream. So villi in the jejunum, absorb the contents.
Jeremiah
ileum, the last small intestine region, absorbs anything that wasn't absorbed previously. Like minerals, vitamins, bile salts, water soluble material. Villi here complete that task. Fatty acid and glycerol however, are absorbed by lacteals. small lymph vessels. And are transported to the liver.
Jeremiah
That concludes lipid digestion. Anything else that remains is deficated after it travels through the large intestines.
Jeremiah
parents with blood group AB & 0,,,what will b the blood group of their offspring
imran
what are the different branches of anatomy
Nabukwasi
hopefully that helped.
Jeremiah
which ion is low of blood level?
Ezra Reply
what is coagulation?
feng Reply
liquid turning to solid... blood clots.
Kristy
coagulation : liquid blood into blood clots caused with a coagulant.
jaime
when the blood turn from liquid form to solid
June
it said to coagulate by the action of active plasma protein called *fibrin*
Hassan
I.e liquid inform of blood when to solid
Hassan
it is the process by which blood becomes more viscous or becomes thick
CHRISTOPHER
cloting of blood cells
Kabange
clot of blood
Moses
the process of forming semi solid lumps in a liquid
rida
conversion of blood to solid state
Ezra
semi solid., rather than solid form
Doctors
what is pivot functioned
Ever
to less thefriction
Hirsi
how to calculate the micrograph
Ampong Reply
it can be used to knw the disease condition
Akbar Reply
which gland secret tears
Opoku
lacrimal glands
Diego
explain the blood supply to the brain
Brenda Reply
There are two paired arteries which are responsible for the blood supply to the brain; the vertebral arteries, and the internal carotid arteries. These arteries arise in the neck, and ascend to the cranium.
Sabrina
two arteries main vertebral arteries & internal carotid artery
Akbar

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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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