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Sternal fractures have increased in frequency with the mandatory wearing of seat belts.
A sternal fracture may result from:
Common causes are road traffic accidents:
Isolated sternal fractures are not serious and may simply need re-alignment, by reduction and wiring. If displacement is minimal, no treatment is necessary.
The main concern is with damage to the surrounding structures - ribs, myocardium, great vessels, and thoracic spine. A flail segment due to multiple rib fractures may be difficult to manage. A ruptured aorta is life threatening.