Objectives. Medical image computing has become one of the most challenging fields in medical informatics. In image-based diagnostics of the future software assistance will become more and more important, and image analysis systems integrating advanced image computing methods are needed to extract quantitative image parameters to characterize the state and changes of image structures of interest (e.g. tumors, organs, vessels, bones etc.) in a reproducible and objective way. Furthermore, in the field of software-assisted and navigated surgery medical image computing methods play a key role and have opened up new perspectives for patient treatment. However, further developments are needed to increase the grade of automation, accuracy, reproducibility and robustness. Moreover, the systems developed have to be integrated into the clinical workflow. Methods: For the development of advanced image computing systems methods of different scientific fields have to be adapted and used in combination. The principal methodologies in medical image computing are the following: image segmentation, image registration, image analysis for quantification and computer assisted image interpretation, modeling and simulation as well as visualization and virtual reality. Especially, model-based image computing techniques open up new perspectives for prediction of organ changes and risk analysis of patients and will gain importance in diagnostic and therapy of the future. Results: From a methodical point of view the authors identify the following future trends and perspectives in medical image computing: development of optimized application-specific systems and integration into the clinical workflow, enhanced computational models for image analysis and virtual reality training systems, integration of different image computing methods, further integration of multimodal image data and biosignals and advanced methods for 4D medical image computing. Conclusions: The development of image analysis systems for diagnostic support or operation planning is a complex interdisciplinary process. Image computing methods enable new insights into the patient's image data and have the future potential to improve medical diagnostics and patient treatment.