Morphometric analysis of variation in the sternum with sex and age.


Age and sex-related variations in sternum morphology may affect the thoracic injury tolerance. Male and female sternum size and shape variation was characterized for ages 0-100 from landmarks collected from 330 computed tomography scans. Homologous landmarks were analyzed using Procrustes superimposition to produce age and sex-specific functions of 3D-sternum morphology representing the combined size and shape variation and the isolated shape variation. Significant changes in the combined size and shape variation and isolated shape variation of the sternum were found to occur with age in both sexes. Sternal size increased from birth through age 30 and retained a similar size for ages 30-100. The manubrium expanded laterally from birth through age 30, becoming wider in relation to the sternal body. In infancy, the manubrium was 1.1-1.2 times the width of the sternal body and this width ratio increased to 1.6-1.8 for adults. The manubrium transformed from a circular shape in infancy to an oval shape in early childhood. The distal sternal body became wider in relation to the proximal sternal body from birth through age 30 and retained this characteristic throughout adulthood. The most dramatic changes in sternum morphology occur in childhood and young adulthood when the sternum is undergoing ossification. The lesser degree of ossification in the pediatric sternum may be partly responsible for the prevalence of thoracic organ injuries as opposed to thoracic skeletal injuries in pediatrics. Sternum fractures make up a larger portion of thoracic injury patterns in adults with fully ossified sternums. The lack of substantial size or shape changes in the sternum from age 30-100 suggests that the increased incidence of sternal fracture seen in the elderly may be due to cortical thickness or bone mineral density changes in the sternum as opposed to morphological changes.

DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20302
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@article{Weaver2014MorphometricAO, title={Morphometric analysis of variation in the sternum with sex and age.}, author={Ashley A. Weaver and Samantha L. Schoell and Callistus M. Nguyen and Sarah K Lynch and Joel D. Stitzel}, journal={Journal of morphology}, year={2014}, volume={275 11}, pages={1284-99} }