First, we present a wavelet-based algorithm for edge detection and characterization, which is an adaptation of Mallat and Hwang’s method. This algorithm relies on a modelization of contours as smoothed singularities of three particular types (transitions, peaks and lines). On the one hand, it allows to detect and locate edges at an adapted scale. On the other hand, it is able to identify the type of each detected edge point and to measure its amplitude and smoothing size. The latter parameters represent respectively the contrast and the smoothness level of the edge point. Second, we explain that this method has been integrated in a 3D bone surface reconstruction algorithm designed for computer-assisted and minimal invasive orthopaedic surgery. In order to decrease the dose to the patient and to obtain rapidly a 3D image, we propose to identify a bone shape from few X-ray projections by using statistical shape models registered to segmented X-ray projections. We apply this approach to pedicle screw insertion (scoliosis, fractures...) where ten to forty percent of the screws are known to be misplaced. In this context, the proposed edge detection algorithm allows to overcome the major problem of vertebrae segmentation in the X-ray images.