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Location of the sternum and its components
Sternum with attachment areas of the muscles
front view
Rear view

The sternum or Latin sternum ( Latinized from ancient Greek στέρνον sternon , 'chest, heart, mind') is a flat , sword-shaped bone in the front center of the chest , to which the ribs or their cartilaginous extensions attach. The man's sternum is slimmer than that of the woman. The longitudinal division of the sternum during surgery is known as a sternotomy .

For structures and sensations located behind the breastbone, the position designation retrosternal is used , for those to the side of the breastbone, parasternal ; the individual sections of the sternum are named (from top to bottom) as follows:

  • Manubrium sterni (handle)
  • Corpus sterni (body)
  • Processus xiphoideus (sword extension)


Manubrium sterni (handle)

Sterni at near the head (cranial) end of the manubrium is a notch, the suprasternal notch (from latin iugulum "small yoke"), readily palpable and marks the bottom end of the neck, the jugular fossa . On both sides of this notch there are articular surfaces that serve to connect to the clavicles in the sternoclavicular joint . Just below these joint surfaces, the costal notch marks the location of the cartilaginous connection with the first rib.

The connection to the sternum body is usually created as a fibrous cartilaginous symphysis , as a symphysis manubriosternalis .

Corpus sterni (body)

The second rib attaches on both sides at an angle between the handle and the body of the sternum (angulus sterni or Ludovici), the ribs 3 to 7 at notches in the sternum body along the imaginary sternal line .

Processus xiphoideus (sword extension)

The xiphoid process (the xiphoid or xiphoid , sometimes sword cartilage from ancient Greek ξίφος Xiphos , sword ') represents the bony-cartilaginous lower end of the sternum. Sometimes it is with the latter via a cartilage bridge ( synchondrosis xiphosternalis connected).

The xiphoid is of various shapes: it can be designed as a compact or twin-beam structure and can be bent forward or backward. Ribs no longer attach to the xiphoid .

One to two bone nuclei can appear in the cartilaginous pre-formed xiphoid between the ages of 5 and 10 .


Malformations of the sternum see funnel chest , pigeon chest , Harren stone deformity .


An infection of the sternum leads to sternum osteitis (see also osteomyelitis ), which is treated with antibiotics .


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Klaus Holldack, Klaus Gahl: Auscultation and percussion. Inspection and palpation. Thieme, Stuttgart 1955; 10th, revised edition ibid 1986, ISBN 3-13-352410-0 , p. 70 f.
  2. ^ Marianne Abele-Horn: Antimicrobial Therapy. Decision support for the treatment and prophylaxis of infectious diseases. With the collaboration of Werner Heinz, Hartwig Klinker, Johann Schurz and August Stich, 2nd, revised and expanded edition. Peter Wiehl, Marburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-927219-14-4 , p. 167 ( Sternum osteitis ).

Web links

Commons : Sternum  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: sternum  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Sternum  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations