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Definition of Sternum

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Sternum: The long flat bone in the upper middle of the front of the chest. The sternum articulates (comes together) with the cartilages of the first seven ribs and with the clavicle (collarbone) on either side. The sternum consists of three parts: the manubrium (the upper segment of the sternum, a flattened, roughly triangular bone), the corpus (body) of the sternum, and the xiphoid process (the little tail of the sternum than points down). These sections of the sternum arise as separate bones, and they may fuse partially or completely with one another. Also known as breastbone.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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