Manubriosternal joint

Last revised by Dr Yair Glick on 19 Aug 2021

The manubriosternal joint, sometimes referred to as the sternomanubrial joint, is the articulation between the upper two parts of the sternum, the manubrium and sternal body.  It is at the level of the sternal angle or angle of Louis, which is at the 2nd costal cartilage and the intervertebral disc of T4 and T5 1. This forms an important palpable landmark for clinical examination

Gross anatomy

The manubriosternal joint is a type of secondary cartilaginous joint or symphysis, formed by the inferior border of the manubrium and the superior border of the sternal body. Both sides of the joint are irregular and undulating and covered with hyaline cartilage 2. However, it is not a typical secondary cartilaginous joint as the bones may ossify later in adult life 3. The joint does not have a capsule or attached by any ligaments.

Function

There is very little movement of the manubriosternal joint but there may be a small amount of angular movement during respiration 4

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: Manubrium: Gray's anatomy diagram
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  • Case 1: manubriosternal arthropathy
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  • Case 2: manubriosternal erosive arthritis
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