Medical Definition of Rib cage

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Rib cage: The structure formed by the thoracic vertebrae and ribs, the sternum (breastbone), and the costal cartilages (that attach the ribs to the sternum).

A cage is an enclosure made of "open work" that usually houses animals. The rib cage was thought to resemble an animal cage (although the largest "animals" it holds are the heart and lungs).

The rib cage is also called the thoracic cage.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018