The Sternum

The sternum is the flat bone located in the middle of the chest.  The sternum, together with the ribs, forms the ribcage that helps to protect the heart and the lungs, as well as major blood vessels.  Ribs are connected to the sternum by cartilage.  The sternum is composed of the following three parts:  the manubrim, the gladiolus and the xiphoid process.  In adults, the three parts of the sternum are often bone that is fused together.  

The manubrim is located at the top of the sternum.  It has slight movement and is connected to the top two ribs.

The gladiolus, also called the body, is located in the middle of the sternum.  It connects directly to the third through seventh ribs, and indirectly to the eighth through tenth.

The xiphoid process, also called the tip, is located at the bottom of the sternum.  In the earlier years the xiphoid process is often made of cartilage but becomes bone in later years.