The sternum lies in the midline of the thorax anteriorly. It is made up of three parts: the manubrium at the top, the body as the main part, and the xiphoid process below. On the top of the manubrium is the jugular (sternal) notch, a common landmark. The junction between the manubrium and the body is a joint called the sternal angle. This sternal angle is an important landmark clinically because the second rib attaches to the sternum at this junction. It is just a matter of simple counting after identifying the second rib to know where you are on the thoracic wall. The rib cage consists of the 12 thoracic vertebrae, 12 pairs of ribs, and the sternum. Each rib is curved laterally from back to front. All 12 pairs of ribs are attached posteriorly to the thoracic vertebrae. The upper six pairs of ribs are attached directly to the sternum by their costal cartilages. The seventh through tenth pairs of ribs are attached indirectly to the sternum through their costal cartilages (by attaching to the costal cartilage of the rib above). Rib pairs 11 and 12
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