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Learning Objectives

After going through the study unit, you will be able to:

  1. Define the 3 main parts of the sternum.
  2. Identify the major features and bony landmarks of the sternum.
  3. Discover the relationship between the sternum and other structures.

Watch videos

The sternum is a flat, elongated bone located centrally in the anterior thoracic wall. It’s made up of three main parts: the manubrium, body and xiphoid process. It articulates with the clavicles at the sternoclavicular joints and with the cartilages of the first seven pairs of ribs through the sternochondral/sternocostal joints. The sternum anchors the right and left ribs to stabilize the rib cage, and has various functions including the protection of the heart and lungs from mechanical damage.

The following video tutorial will guide you through the anatomy of the sternum and its relationship with surrounding structures.

Check out the video below to find out more about the articulation between the sternum and the clavicle. 

Take a quiz

To test your knowledge about what you’ve learned so far about the sternum, take the following quiz!

If you want to focus on your weak spots about the anatomy of the sternum, go ahead and try our customizable quiz where you can decide exactly which topics you will be tested on.

Browse atlas

Take a closer look at each of the structures in this region in the gallery below.


Key points about the sternum
Parts Manubrium, body of sternum, xiphoid process
Bony landmarks Manubrium: Jugular notch, clavicular notch, 1st costal notch, 2nd costal notch
Body of Sternum
: 2nd-7th costal notches
Xiphoid process
Joints Sternoclavicular joint: Articulation between manubrium and clavicle
Sternochondral joints
: Articulation between sternum and costal cartilages of 1st-7th ribs
Manubriosternal joint
: Articulation between manubrium and body of sternum
Xiphisternal joint
: Articulation between body of sternum and xiphoid process)
Function Provides an anchoring point for the costal cartilages
Protection of heart and lungs from mechanical damage

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