German Contact Help Login Register

Bones of the trunk

Overview of the bones of the thorax and abdomen.

Success chocolate
Your first video. Move on to the quiz below to solidify your knowledge
Show transcript

Hey there! It's Matt from Kenhub, and in this tutorial, we will be discussing the bones of the trunk. The bones of the trunk or torso consist of the thoracic vertebrae, the ribs, and the sternum. These bones do the job of protecting all the vital organs and part of the spinal cord.

Starting from the anterior view, we will first discuss the sternum. This is a flat bone that consists of three parts. From the superior to inferior, the parts are the manubrium, the body and the xiphoid process. The xiphoid process is actually made of hyaline cartilage that surrounds a bony center. This part of the sternum is an important landmark to avoid during CPR because it can easily be damaged with chest compressions.

From the anterior view, we see clearly the next structures, the ribs, which lie on either side of the thoracic vertebrae and, like the thoracic vertebrae, they are numbered one to twelve. Each rib consists of three parts – the head of the rib, the neck of the rib, and the body or shaft of the rib. Ribs one to seven are connected to the sternum by their costal cartilages and are called the true ribs. Ribs eight to twelve are called the false ribs. The costal cartilages of each of the false ribs are connected to the costal cartilage superior. Eleven and twelve are not connected, hence, they are called the floating ribs.

On the posterior view of the trunk, we can find the vertebral column. The vertebral column can be divided into three sections. The first one is known as the cervical spine which is comprised of cervical vertebrae. Between the skull and the thoracic vertebrae, you can find seven cervical vertebrae. The first two well-known cervical vertebrae have their own names – atlas and axis – or C1 and C2 respectively.

The thoracic vertebrae are located in the middle section of the vertebral column and span the large majority of the chest cavity area. There are twelve thoracic vertebrae denoted as T1 to T12 that are found in adult humans and they are situated in between the cervical and lumbar vertebrae with a general sizing larger than the cervical but smaller than the lumbar vertebrae. Thoracic vertebrae increase in size as they descend towards the lumbar vertebrae. This is because the lower vertebrae must be able to support more of the body's weight when a person is standing. For each of the twelve thoracic vertebrae, there is a corresponding pair of ribs attached to them.

Finally, the lumbar vertebrae are located at the bottom section of the vertebral column inferior to the rib cage and superior to the pelvis and sacrum. There are five lumbar vertebrae. Since these vertebrae are most largely responsible for bearing the weight of the upper body and permitting movement, they are logically also the largest segments of the vertebral column.

Now that you just completed this video tutorial, then it’s time for you to continue your learning experience by testing and also applying your knowledge. There are three ways you can do so here at Kenhub. The first one is by clicking on our “start training” button, the second one is by browsing through our related articles library, and the third one is by checking out our atlas.

Now, good luck everyone, and I will see you next time.

Create your free account.
Start learning anatomy in less than 60 seconds.