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Chest Wall Anatomy

Overview

The chest wall is comprised of skin, fat, muscles, and the thoracic skeleton. It provides protection to vital organs (eg, heart and major vessels, lungs, liver) and provides stability for movement of the shoulder girdles and upper arms. Although the thoracic skeleton consists of rigid bones and cartilage, its interconnection with the muscular components forms for a dynamic structure that is able to expand during inspiration, thereby increasing intrathoracic volume and allowing for maximal breaths to take place. An in-depth understanding of chest wall anatomy is paramount to those performing any surgical procedure of the chest or breast.

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