The thorax is the area of the body situated between the neck and the abdomen. The thorax itself can be split up into various areas that contain important structures.
The thorax is bound by bony structures including the 12 pairs of ribs and thoracic vertebrae, whilst also being supported by many ligaments and muscles.
The muscles of the thorax are also important for the vital actions of breathing and muscles that attach to the thoracic wall may also contribute to the general movement of the trunk, upper limbs and the neck.
The thoracic cavity is home to many vital organs, notably the lungs/pleurae and the heart, but also includes the thymus gland and the breasts. As the heart is found here, the great vessels associated with it are also found – including the pulmonary arteries/veins, the superior vena cava and the aorta (as well as some of its proximal branches).
In this section, learn more about the areas of the thorax, bones of the thorax, muscles of the thorax, organs of the thorax and the vasculature of the thorax.