We have been developing user-steered image segmentation methods for situations which require considerable user assistance in object definition. In such situations, our segmentation methods aim (1) to provide effective control to the user on the segmentation process while it is being executed and (2) to minimize the total user's time required in the process. In the past, we have presented two paradigms, referred to as live wire and live lane, for segmenting 3D/4D object boundaries in a slice-by-slice fashion. In this paper, we introduce a 3D extension of the live wire approach which can further reduce the time spent by the user in the segmentation process. In 2D live wire, given a slice, for two specified points (pixel vertices) on the boundary of the object, the best boundary segment (as a set of oriented pixel edges) is the minimum-cost path between the two points. This segment is found via dynamic programming in real time as the user anchors the first point and moves the cursor to indicate the second point. A complete 2D boundary in this slice is identified as a set of consecutive boundary segments forming a 'closed,' 'connected,' 'oriented' contour. The strategy of the 3D extension is that, first, users specify contours via live- wiring on a few orthogonal slices. If these slices are selected strategically, then we have a sufficient number of points on the 3D boundary of the object to do live-wiring automatically on all axial slices of the 3D scene. Based on several validation studies involving segmentation of the bones of the foot in MR images, we found that the 3D extension of live wire is statistically significantly (p less than 0.0001) more repeatable and 2 - 6 times faster (p less than 0.01) than the 2D live wire method and 3 - 15 times faster than manual tracing.