Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) is a type of high-resolution fluorescence microscopy that overcomes the limitations of conventional widefield microscopy and facilitates the generation of high-resolution 3D images from relatively thick sections of tissue. As a comparatively non-destructive imaging technique, CLSM facilitates the in situ characterization of tissue microstructure. Images generated by CLSM have been utilized for the study of articular cartilage, bone, muscle, tendon, ligament and menisci by the foremost research groups in the field or orthopaedics including those teams headed by Bush. Errington, Guilak, Hall, Hunziker, Knight. Mow. Poole, Ratcliffe and White, Recent evolutions in techniques and technologies have facilitated a relatively widespread adoption of this imaging modality, with increased "user friendliness" and flexibility. Applications of CLSM also exist in the rapidly advancing field of orthopaedic implants and in the investigation or joint lubrication. (c) 2005 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.