From Dornheim Anatomy
This page is a translated version of the page Brustbein and the translation is 100% complete.

The sternum is a flat bone with a sword-like shape. It is located centrally at the front of the thorax. The rib cartilages are attached to it as an extension of the ribs.


Anatomy of the sternum

The sternum is a flat, sword-shaped bone that curves slightly forward. The side of the sternum has several notches (incisurae costales).

The sternum can be divided into three main bony sections:

  • Manubrium (Manubrium sterni)
  • Body (Corpus sterni)
  • Xiphoid process (Processus xiphoideus).

A notch (incisura jugularis) on the cranial edge of the manubrium is easily palpable through the skin. The indentations Incisurae claviculares, on the right and left side of the Incisura jugulari, allow the connection to the respective clavicle. The flat notch (Incisura costalis I) below is for the cartilaginous connection with the first rib.
. The other notches (Incisura costales II-VII) are for the cartilaginous connection with the ribs 2-7. At the angulus sterni the manubrium is slightly bent backwards against the body of the sternum. The xiphoid process is often cartilaginous and has no connection to a rib.

Manubrium sterni
The Manubrium sterni is also known as the manubrium. This part of the sternum is the widest. At the upper end there are two lateral notches, the incisurae claviculares. The two clavicles are attached to these indentations. Between the incisurae claviculares is the incisura jugularis. On each of the lateral edges one incisura costalis prima can be found.
The Manubrium sterni is connected to the Corpus sterni via the Angulus sterni. The Manubrium sterni and Corpus sterni are slightly angled towards each other. The second incisura costalis is located directly next to the angulus sterni.

Corpus sterni
The corpus sterni, also called body, is longer and narrower than the manubrium sterni. There are further indentations on the sides of the body. These are the incisurae costales for ribs two to seven. Whereby the incisura costales of the second rib is next to the angulus sterni as already mentioned.

Processus xiphoideus
The back of the corpus sterni is continued by the proc. xiphoideus (sword process). No ribs are attached to it. Its shape is very individual and can also be split or perforated.


The ossification of the sternum begins in the sixth month of embryo development and continues in some cases until the age of 25. The proc. xiphoid is the last to be present in a cartilaginous form. The sternum develops from two organ systems. These are called sternal bones. These two merge from top to bottom.


Free exploration

Look at the structure of the sternum in 3D and explore it freely. Afterwards you can test your acquired knowledge by the exercises.

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