Which Organs Are Protected by the Rib Cage?

Rega Photography/CC-BY-SA 2.0

While the rib cage provides secondary protection to organs in a human’s abdominal area, it primarily protects the heart and lungs. The heart and lungs are fully enclosed within the rib cage.

The rib cage is one of the strongest structures in the human body, designed to protect two of the most important organ systems: the heart and lungs. It consists of 24 rib bones, along with the sternum, 12 thoracic vertebrae and costal cartilages. The top rib bones are thin, curved bones that connect to the sternum. The lower rib bones connect to the upper rib bones on their costal cartilages, which give them the flexibility to allow a person to breathe.