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A model of object shape by nets of medial and boundary primitives is justified as richly capturing multiple aspects of shape and yet requiring representation space and image analysis work proportional to the number of primitives. Metrics are described that compute an object representation's prior probability of local geometry by reflecting variabilities in the net's node and link parameter values, and that compute a likelihood function measuring the degree of match of an image to that object representation. A paradigm for image analysis of deforming such a model to optimize a posteriori probability is described, and this paradigm is shown to be usable as a uniform approach for object definition, object-based registration between images of the same or different imaging modalities, and measurement of shape variation of an abnormal anatomical object, compared with a normal anatomical object. Examples of applications of these methods in radiotherapy, surgery, and psychiatry are given.