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This article reviews the essential parts of the complex process of quantitative image analysis to assist automatic image analysis in laboratories. It describes the basic difference between the bias of classical manual stereological analysis and quantitative image analysis. The article concentrates on the basic properties of digital measurements that are the core of quantitative image analysis. It provides a brief description of the specimen and apparatus preparation as well as the image acquisition. The article explains how to evaluate stereological parameters and provides the general rules and guidelines for optimization of image processing algorithms from the viewpoint of shape quantification. It concludes with examples that demonstrate the usefulness of automatic image analysis in comparison to manual methods.

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