FINTAN J. McEVOY.
An estimate of the thickness of subcutaneous adipose tissue at differing positions around the body was required in a study examining body composition. To eliminate human error associated with the manual placement of markers for measurements and to facilitate the collection of data from a large number of animals and image slices, automation of the process was desirable. The open-source and free image analysis program ImageJ was used. A macro procedure was created that provided the required functionality. The macro performs a number of basic image processing procedures. These include an initial process designed to remove the scanning table from the image and to center the animal in the image. This is followed by placement of a vertical line segment from the mid point of the upper border of the image to the image center. Measurements are made between automatically detected outer and inner boundaries of subcutaneous adipose tissue along this line segment. This process was repeated as the image was rotated (with the line position remaining unchanged) so that measurements around the complete circumference were obtained. Additionally, an image was created showing all detected boundary points so that sites of measurement could be checked by visual inspection. This paper provides a detailed account of this macro, illustrates the effect of its components on the image, and the applicability of standard image processing techniques to veterinary imaging.