Rib Cage Anatomy

Anatomy of the Rib Cage
The rib cage is designed to protect the vital organs of the lungs and heart.  They also play a very important role in breathing, as the intercostal muscles move the ribs upward and outward to allow the lungs to expand.  There are 12 pairs of ribs that each attach to a corresponding thoracic vertebrae.  The first 7 pairs of ribs also known as true ribs encircle the chest and attach to the sternum in the anterior portion of the body.  The next 3 pairs of ribs also known as false ribs do not extend fully around to the sternum but are connected to each other by costal cartilage and are then connected to the 7th pair of ribs.  It is also important to note that the last 2 pairs of ribs also known as floating ribs” do not extend around to the front.

Related Injuries
- Bruised Rib Cage
Fractured Rib

Related Surgeries
- Slipping Rib Repair

Referenced Material
Anatomica’s Body Atlas. (2002). San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press (pg. 98-99)