The increasingly important role of medical imaging in the diagnosis and treatment of disease has opened an array of challenging problems centered on the computation of accurate geometric models of anatomic structures from medical images. Deformable models offer an attractive approach to tackling such problems, because these models are able to represent the complex shapes and broad shape variability of anatomical structures. Deformable models overcome many of the limitations of traditional low-level image processing techniques, by providing compact and analytical representations of object shape, by incorporating anatomic knowledge, and by providing interactive capabilities. The continued development and refinement of these models should remain an important area of research into the foreseeable future.

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