Abstract Sternal osteomyelitis complicates recovery in a small number of patients following median sternotomy. Techniques for operative treatment have in common the wide debridement of devitalised tissue and administration of culture-specific antibiotics. The resultant wound can be managed by delayed primary closure or transposition of well-vascularised adjacent tissue. Omentum, pectoralis major muscle and rectus abdominis muscle are suitable for transposition either alone or in combination. Our series is composed of ten patients who underwent rectus abdominis muscle transfer for the treatment of sternal osteomyelitis. The rectus abdominis obliterates dead space in the lower third of the wound, a difficult area to reach with the pectoralis major muscle. Five patients had one rectus abdominis muscle alone transposed, avoiding the aesthetic and functional deficits of pectoralis major transposition and the risks of omental transfer. Wound healing occurred in every case with a minimum of postoperative complications.