Automated system for the analysis of muscle and nerve biopsies

John F. Brenner, David J. Zahniser, Daniel W. Ziegelmiller, Lester S. Adelman, Theodore L. Munsat, Walter G Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


An automated system has been developed for morphometric analysis of muscle and nerve fibers as seen in routine biopsy tissue preparations. This system, which is suitable both for research and clinical applications, is now in routine use at New England Medical Center Hospital. It is designed around commonly available hardware and uses our own custom software. Special sample preparation is not required, and the system will process almost any biopsy that is free from obvious artifact and suitable for manual assessment. In a typical biopsy, the system provides nearly full automation for the edge (boundary) determination of over 90% of the fibers encountered. An efficient, interactive mode allows for rapid analysis of the remaining 10%. Once fiber boundaries are determined, the system provides fully automatic measurement of the usual parameters such as fiber diameter, as well as a number of parameters not routinely measured with existing manual techniques. Typical analysis times are 35 min for muscle and 2 h for nerve. Complete report generation is provided, with hardcopy available in the pathologist's office. This paper describes the operational aspects of the use of the automated analysis system in routine biopsy work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3398-3407
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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