The Breastbone (Sternum) is a flat bone which runs down the middle of the front of the chest. The sternum consists of the manubrium; the corpus (body) and the xiphoid process. The main function of the breastbone is to work with the ribs to protect the lungs, heart and major blood vessels.
The Bones of the Sternum
- The Manubrium is the uppermost segment of the breastbone, manubrĭum can be translated as "a handle" in Latin and this is a good way of explaining its shape.
- The Corpus (Latin for “body”) forms the largest portion of the sternum.
- The Xiphoid Process begins as a piece of cartilage. Between the ages of 15 and 29, the process (extension) slowly hardens into bone and is usually fused to the corpus. It slowly hardens into the bone until it is usually fused to the body of the sternum.