Sternal Swelling and Mass
The sternum or breastbone is the central bone at the front of the chest to which the clavicle (collarbone) and ribs attach. It is an elongated flat bone made up of three parts – manubrium (uppermost part), body of the sternum (longest part in the middle) and the xiphoid process (short pointed part at the bottom). Most of the sternum that can be felt in detail over the skin on the chest wall especially in a thin person.
The sternum is not a smooth bone – there notches at the top (suprasternal notch) and facets on the sides for the clavicle and ribs to attach to, it also has several transverse ridges on the sternal body. The xiphoid process with its pointed end may at times be felt as a small lump at the bottom of the sternum. Overall however, the sternum sits somewhat flush with the rest of the chest wall.
Sometimes there may be swelling in or over the sternum or isolated lumps (masses) that can be felt or can even be seen over the sternum. These abnormalities need to be investigated as it may be a clinical sign of certain underlying diseases.