Sternum with calcified and deformed lower costal cartilages
Showing the manubrium, sternum, xiphisternum and attached costal cartilages with marked deformity of the xiphisternum and lower costal cartilages.
In the developing fetus, a ‘blueprint’ of the ribs is laid out in cartilage, which subsequently ossifies to form the rib bones. The costal cartilage is the persistent and non-ossified ventral extension of these cartilaginous models. The subsequent development of the costal cartage may be impacted by thoracic trauma, infection, ischemia, or by developmental or endocrine disorders. Calcification of the costal cartilage in adulthood is a normal process of aging.
Pathology: deformity of lower costal cartilage. Origin and pathology unknown.
Mechanical stress on the vertebral column leads to several alterations of the osseous vertebral surface, visible on this specimen: the appearance of osteophytes (bony spikes) on the margins of the vertebral body, pitting of the body of the vertebra, and alterations of the facet joints. In this case, there are also present destructive lesions of the centrum. It is likely that the individual suffered from lower back pain. The specimen displays post-mortem damage to the transverse processes and articular facets (partly broken). Furthermore, two round holes (for the passing of strings that would have held several vertebrae together) puncture the body of the specimen, reminders of the use of this vertebra for anatomical teaching.