Spectrum of anatomical variants, normal findings and pathology in and around the paediatric sternum

Pediatr Radiol. 2022 May;52(6):1175-1186. doi: 10.1007/s00247-021-05268-5. Epub 2022 Feb 10.


Abnormalities of the sternum and adjacent structures are an uncommon presentation in the paediatric population and can have a variety of benign and malignant causes, including normal and developmental variants of the chest wall. Although there is overlap with adults, many sternal abnormalities are unique to the paediatric population. Following clinical examination, radiography is usually the first type of imaging used; however, it is limited and often ultrasound and cross-sectional imaging are needed for further assessment. An understanding of the normal anatomy is important; however, this can be challenging due to the varied appearances of age-related changes of the sternum. The purpose of this article is to familiarize the general paediatric radiologist with the expected anatomy and imaging findings of the developing sternum, anatomical variants and pathology of the sternum and adjacent structures encountered in this group of patients.

Keywords: Children; Computed tomography; Congenital abnormality; Developmental abnormality; Infection; Magnetic resonance imaging; Sternum; Tumour; Ultrasound; Variants.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Diseases* / pathology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Sternum / diagnostic imaging
  • Sternum / pathology
  • Thoracic Diseases*
  • Thoracic Wall*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed