Non-Tumorous Diseases of the Sternum and Its Articulations: At the Front Gate of the Chest

Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. 2022 Jul-Aug;51(4):628-638. doi: 10.1067/j.cpradiol.2021.06.005. Epub 2021 Jul 15.


Abnormalities of the sternal and peri-sternal regions are commonly seen in clinical practice and may be one of the important causes of chest pain particularly anterior chest wall pain. While reading computed tomography (CT) of the chest for evaluation of chest pain, the sternal region is either easily overlooked or its abnormality is often detected incidentally. This article will provide an overview of normal sternal anatomy and congenital variants as well as a variety of non-tumorous pathologic conditions of the sternum and adjacent joints, with emphasis on CT, to help radiologists, particularly thoracic radiologists, to make an accurate diagnosis in their daily practice. Non-tumorous abnormalities include trauma (fractures and dislocations), infection (osteomyelitis, septic arthritis), degenerative (osteoarthritis) and inflammatory conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, seronegative arthritides), and metabolic disorders (Paget's disease and renal osteodystrophy) as well as treatment related changes such as poststernotomy and its complications (dehiscence, nonunion) and postradiation changes of the sternum.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis*
  • Chest Pain
  • Fractures, Bone*
  • Humans
  • Sternum / abnormalities
  • Sternum / diagnostic imaging
  • Sternum / injuries
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / adverse effects