The ribs connect on the front of the chest with the long flat sternum, or breast bone, and on the back with the vertebral column, creating a cage of protection for the lungs and heart.
Review Date 9/9/2017
Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.