Thoracic Cage

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Thoracic cage, or rib cage, protects the heart, lungs and major blood vessels in the chest. The rib cage is made up of 12 pairs of bones forming the cage. Read on to learn more about how the thoracic cage protects the organs in the upper body.

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Thoracic Cage

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Thoracic Cage
Thoracic Cage - Anterior View

Thoracic Cage is made up of 24 bones arranged in 12 pairs. These bones are divided into three groups: true ribs, false ribs and floating ribs.

The twelve pairs of ribs are often called the "rib cage." This is because they form a kind of cage that encloses the upper body. This cage gives the chest its familiar barrel-like shape.

The ribs serve several important purposes. They protect the heart and lungs from injuries and shocks that might damage them. Ribs also protect parts of the stomach, spleen, and kidneys. The ribs help you to breathe. As you inhale, the muscles in between the ribs lift the rib cage up, allowing the lungs to expand. When you exhale, the rib cage moves down again, squeezing the air out of your lungs.

See the rib cage section for more detail.


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