Sternal angle

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Sternal angle
Lateral border of sternum.
Anterior surface of sternum and costal cartilages. (Sternal angle not labeled, but visible at second costal cartilage.)
Latin angulus sterni, angulus sternalis
Gray's p.121
TA A02.3.03.005
FMA 7547
Anatomical terminology

The sternal angle (also known as the angle of Louis or manubriosternal junction), refers to the angle formed by the junction of the manubrium and the body of the sternum.[1][2]

The sternal angle is a palpable clinical landmark in surface anatomy.


The sternal angle, which varies around 162 degrees in males,[3] marks the approximate level of the 2nd pair of costal cartilages, which attach to the second ribs, and the level of the intervertebral disc between T4 and T5.[2] In clinical applications, the sternal angle can be palpated at the T4 vertebral level.

The sternal angle is used in the definition of the thoracic plane. This marks the level of a number of other anatomical structures:

The angle also marks a number of other features:

  • Passage of the thoracic duct from right to left behind esophagus
  • Ligamentum arteriosum
  • Loop of left recurrent laryngeal nerve around aortic arch

The angle is in the form of a secondary cartilaginous joint (symphysis).


The sternal angle is also called the angle of Louis after Antoine Louis

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dalley, Arthur F.; Moore, Keith L. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Hagerstown, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-7817-5936-6. 
  2. ^ a b Wilson, Herbert H. Srebnik ; illustrations by Genevieve M. (2002). Concepts in anatomy. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 70. ISBN 0792375394. 
  3. ^ Gray's Anatomy 40th edition. Chapter 54: Chest wall and breast: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier. 2008. p. 922. ISBN 978-0-8089-2371-8. 
  4. ^ RADIOGRAPHIC LANDMARKS OF THE UPPER MARGIN OF THE SUPERIOR VENA CAVA (SVC) IN CHILDREN. - Arai et al. 49 (Supplement 1): 32 - Canadian Journal of Anesthesia
  5. ^ UAMS Department of Anatomy - Viscera of the Thorax

External links[edit]