Volume 455 of the series Methods In Molecular Biology™ pp 273-292

Micro-Computed Tomography: A Method for the Non-Destructive Evaluation of the Three-Dimensional Structure of Biological Specimens

  • Martin StauberAffiliated withInstitute for Biomechanics, ETH Zürich
  • , Ralph MüllerAffiliated withInstitute for Biomechanics, ETH Zürich

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The large increase in interest in micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) over the last decade reflects the+ need for a method able to non-destructively visualize the internal three-dimensional structure of an object. Thereby, the real beauty of computed tomography lies in the fact that it is available for a large range of nominal resolutions, which allows hierarchical imaging from whole bodies down to the tissue level. Although micro-CT is currently mainly used for imaging of hard tissue (i.e., bone and tooth), future developments might also allow high soft tissue contrast either using appropriate contrast agents or x-ray contrast mechanisms. This chapter aims to review the steps necessary for a successful micro-CT measurement. Although the actual measurement is often machine dependent, the chapter does not describe a specific system but rather lists all steps that eventually have to be considered to set up a measurement, run the measurement, process the image data, and get morphometric indices as a result. The chapter provides an easy understandable manual that should allow newcomers to perform successful measurements and hence to best profit from this powerful technique.


Computed tomography micro-computed tomography three-dimensional imaging non-destructive imaging 3D structural analysis morphometry