Thorax (overview)

The thorax is the superior part of the trunk extending between the neck and the abdomen. It consists of several components:

  • Thoracic wall
  • Several cavities
  • Nerves, blood vessels, lymphatics
  • Internal organs
  • Breasts



Thoracic wall

The thoracic wall consists mainly of bones (forming the thoracic cage) and muscles. It is formed by:

  • Anteriorly - the sternum, which is a bone located in the anterior midline of the thorax and consists of three parts: manubrium of the sternum, body of the sternum, and the xiphoid process;
  • Laterally - twelve ribs on each side and three layers of intercostal muscles, which fill the intercostal spaces between adjacent ribs. These muscles move the ribs and provide mechanical support for the intercostal spaces and the thoracic wall;
  • Posteriorly - twelve thoracic vertebrae and their intervertebral discs.