Chest Wall Anatomy

Chest Wall Anatomy


Like other organs chest has a protective structure that protects the organs like the heart, lungs, liver, etc. This wall-type structure is also known as the Thoracic wall or Thorax. Ribs, cartilage, and sternum consist together to make up this wall in simpler words skin, fat, some muscles, and bones together make a wall to protect vital organs its about to the Chest Wall Anatomy. It also works as a protective cavity inside the abdomen. Chest wall not only work as a protective it has other functions as well some of the functions are;

Support upper arms and shoulder movement 

In this article, we will give a brief overview of Chest wall anatomy and structure with functioning. Moreover, this article also deals with health problems related to the chest walls. 

Chest Wall Anatomy

The thoracic skeleton includes your chest wall, which is located below your neck and above your tummy. It’s like a box made up of muscles, fat, skin, cartilage, and bones. The chest wall’s muscles and flexible cartilage give it a dynamic quality that allows it to expand when you inhale. The primary function of the chest wall is to protect and enclose your essential organs, such as your heart, lungs, and liver. 

It is the thoracic wall that is consist of a framework of bones. These bones are held closely by thoracic vertebrae which are 12 in nature. The ribs that surround the lateral and anterior thoracic cavities are formed by it.

The manubrium and sternum are connected by the first nine ribs, which bend around the lateral thoracic wall. Ribs 10-12 are short ribs that join to the ribs’ coastal borders slightly above them. Ribs 10-12 do not reach the sternum due to their short path. 

The anterior chest wall is defined by the sternum, the vertical bone of the chest. The sternum is made up of three discrete bone segments of varying size and shape: 

  1. the thick manubrium
  2. the long body of the sternum, and 
  3. the xiphoid process. 

It develops separately from the ribs. The sternum may not fully develop in sporadic situations, exposing the underlying heart.

The manubrium is the most superior region of the sternum, and it is also the first to form during embryogenesis. The sternal body and xiphoid process develops in tandem with the manubrium. The manubrium is anatomically placed between the T3 and T4 thoracic vertebral bodies. The manubrium is also the sternum’s largest and thickest portion. 

The manubrium is anatomically placed between the T3 and T4 thoracic vertebral bodies. The manubrium is also the sternum’s largest and thickest portion. The existence of the suprasternal notch on a physical examination of the chest is one distinguishing feature of the manubrium.

The thick attachment from the clavicles can be felt on each side of this notch. Some thoracic surgeons will just make a midline incision in the manubrium to gain access to the superior mediastinum, suprasternal goiter, or thymus. 

Functioning of Chest Wall Anatomy

The mediastinum and two pleural cavities, one on each side, split the thoracic cavity into three compartments. The heart and major vessels are housed in the mediastinum, whereas the lungs are housed in the pleural cavities. The thoracic cage protects the lungs and heart while also providing attachments for the thoracic, upper extremity, back, and abdomen muscles. It connects to the neck via the thoracic outlet and divides the abdomen inferiorly via the respiratory diaphragm. 

The thoracic wall’s limits are significant landmarks for clinicians and surgeons doing sternotomies, pericardiocentesis in patients with cardiac tamponade, and thoracentesis for pleural effusion. The sternum and costal cartilages from the anterior thoracic wall; the ribs and intercostal spaces form the lateral thoracic wall; the thoracic vertebrae and intervertebral discs from the posterior thoracic wall; the suprapleural membrane forms the superior thoracic wall, and the respiratory diaphragm forms the inferior thoracic wall. 

Chest wall’s Health issues

Heart and lung disorders come to mind when you think about potential concerns in the chest area. However, the chest wall might be afflicted with health problems as well.

1. Infection 

Bacteria and viruses can infect both your internal organs and your chest wall when they enter your chest cavity. There are types of common infections;

  • Pleurisy
  • Costochondritis
  • Empyema

Pleurisy is a lung illness that affects the membranes that connect your chest wall to your lungs. When you breathe regularly, the two layers of membranes move seamlessly together. Pleurisy, on the other hand, creates inflammation, which causes friction and pain when breathing in and out. 

The chest wall is also affected by costochondritis. The cartilage that connects your sternum and ribs becomes inflamed here. Costochondritis is commonly caused by mild trauma or usage of your arms, but it can also be caused by other injuries or illnesses.

2. Tumors

Tumors can form on the chest wall just like they do anywhere else on your body. This happens when your tissue’s new cells renew and multiply, but they grow improperly and form a tumor. Tumors in the chest wall are usually benign (noncancerous) and come in three varieties: 

  • Fibrous dysplasia is a type of fibrous dysplasia that affects 
  • Osteochondroma 
  • Chondroma 

Sarcomas, which start in your bones, cartilage, or soft tissues, are the most common cancerous tumors in the chest wall. At the end of your chest wall is a formidable defender of your essential organs, but it is not impregnable.

3. Problems with the structure 

Pectus excavatum is one of the most common problems involving the construction of the chest wall. Your ribs grow abnormally with this illness, affecting the structure of your chest wall and giving it a sunken, caved-in appearance. 

It’s only a cosmetic concern in moderate cases, but if it’s severe, it might prevent healthy breathing. If you need surgery to treat pectus excavatum, our experts at Rockland Thoracic & Vascular Associates can help you with three options employing the most cutting-edge technology: 

  • Ravitch’s fix.
  • Procedure for Nuss.
  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery at a single location.

We go over all of your options with you and help you figure out which operation is ideal for you, but be assured that they’re all effective at repositioning your ribs and cartilage and alleviating your symptoms.


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