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Sternal defects or clefts are a result of incomplete fusion of the sternal bodies. Superior, subtotal, total and inferior are the most common types . The exact etiology is unknown, but an association with the gene mutation Hoxb is described. This is a very rare abnormality and accounts for only 0.15% of all chest wall deformities. Two categories of sternal cleft exist - complete and partial. Partial can be either a defect in the superior or inferior aspect of the sternum. Upper clefts are generally an isolated anomaly. Inferior defects are associated with pentalogy of Cantrell. It is important if the diagnosis is made prenatally to have an idea of the other associated anomalies to help guide prenatal counseling.
Content in this topic is referenced in SCORE Chest Wall Deformities