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 8/10/2021
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.