Put your hands on her chest and take a deep breath. Feel just how your chest expands? That"s your thoracic cage—or rib cage, as it"s an ext commonly known—pressing up versus your hands. Without the thoracic cage, some of your body"s most crucial organs would certainly be unprotected, and also your torso would be totally without shape. Imagine walking roughly with your lungs somewhere close to your stomach and your shoulder girdle collapsing into itself. No a quite thought.

You are watching: The general shape of the thoracic cage is

The thoracic cage, a flexible framework of bones and cartilage, is conical in shape. That is narrow at the top and broadens to fit and protect some an essential organs that respiration and circulation—that is, the lungs and heart. The thoracic cage offers your top torso structure. Women have smaller cages 보다 men; the volume is less, and also the sternum is shorter and higher.

Image from person Anatomy Atlas.

Note the anterior watch of the thoracic cage above: The prior of the thoracic cage has seven bag of vertebrosternal ribs (true ribs), i beg your pardon articulate with the sternum, an elongated flattened bone. Over there are also three pairs of vertebrochondral ribs (false ribs)—each false rib attaches to the cartilage that the rib directly above it.

Image from human being Anatomy Atlas.

Take a posterior look in ~ the thoracic cage and you’ll find an additional two pairs of ribs; these are the vertebral ribs (floating ribs). Posteriorly, every 24 ribs articulate v vertebrae that the thoracic section of the vertebral column.

Like anything else in the body, the ribs that make up the thoracic cage aren"t empty curves that bone. The ribs are complicated in their very own right. Let"s take a look!

Did you know? The thoracic cage is part of the axial skeleton, which likewise includes the laryngeal skeleton, vertebral column, and skull.

Anatomyof a Vertebrosternal Rib

The true ribs, false ribs, and also floating ribs all have a head, neck, and shaft. All the ribs of the thoracic cage articulate through vertebrae and also each has a costal groove for passage of the intercostal vessels and nerve. Looking at the 24 ribs together you might tend to think the the ribs differ only in size. Yet they differ in form too. For the sake of expediency stop look at the certain bony landmarks top top the saturday vertebrosternal rib (the 7th true rib). It helps form the an initial section the the cage.

Rib 07 (R).Image from human being Anatomy Atlas.



Shaft (orange)

The longest part of the bone; offers attachment to the intercostals, the outside oblique, the iliocostalis lumborum and also thoracics, levatores costarum muscles, and the serratus anterior

Tubercle (olive)

Eminence the articulates with the transverse procedure of T07

Neck (dark grey)

Attachment website for the anterior costotransverse ligament

Head (pink-orange)

Articulates with the body of T06 and T07, and acts as the attachment site for the interarticular ligament

Costal cartilage (neon green)

Cartilage that enables the ribs to move; attachment site for diaphragm, pectoralis major, rectus abdominis, and also transversus thoracis

Costal groove (purple)

A groove top top the inner part of the bone, with which the intercostal nerves and vessels pass

Thoracic Cage Anomalies

Cervical Rib

While many of us room born through 12 to adjust of ribs, it"s not uncommon to have a normal variance or two. Over there is a chance, to ~ reader, the you might have an ext than the normal number of ribs. Crazy, right? Supernumerary ribs have the right to be a harmless different in most cases, however in part it can cause issues.

A cervical rib is a typical variant. A cervical rib is a congenital disorder in i m sorry one extra rib arises before the an initial normal set of ribs (01). The is tiny and is often called a "neck rib" due to its location. A cervical rib is present in only 0.5% the the population and is more common in females than in males. In rarer cases, an individual can current an extra set of cervical ribs.

A cervical rib is normally asymptomatic, but in some situations it can cause thoracic outlet syndrome through compressing the brachial plexus or subclavian vessels. Symptoms incorporate pain virtually always, as well as discoloration the the hands, weakness of the hand or arm, and also stiffness.

Short Rib

A brief rib is no a clinically far-reaching variant, and is hence named for when a mid-thoracic rib arch is shorter than it must be through no fault of trauma or surgery. A quick rib wake up in roughly 16% of the population, and out of those instances, only 8% take place on the best side.

Funnel Chest

In contrast, pectus excavatum or funnel chest is a depression the the sternum, which reasons the skin to be concave. In some cases, funnel chest is a cosmetic issue, however in rather it deserve to lead to impaired breathing, love displacement, diminished heart density, and also chest pain.

Now I desire you to placed your hands ago on your chest and take a deep breath. Feeling the 12 sets of bone expand against your fingers. If you ever get stuck on what that is her thoracic cage does, think that it as your body"s police force: it shapes and also protects.

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Additional Sources:

Kurihara, Y. Et al (1999).The ribs: Anatomic and also radiologic considerations. Manuscript submitted because that publication, department of Radiology, St Marianna University school of Medicine, Kawasaki City, Kangawa, Japan.

Freyschmidt, J., Brossman, J., Wiens, J., & Sternberg, A. (2002).

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Koehler/zimmer"s borderlands that normal and also early pathological result in bones radiography. (5th ed.). Germany: Thieme.