||Despite the promising results of numerous applications, the hitherto proposed snake techniques share some common problems: snake attraction by spurious edge points, snake degeneration (shrinking and attening), convergence and stability of the deformation process, snake initialization and local determination of the parameters of elasticity. We argue here that these problems can be solved only when all the snake aspects are considered. The snakes proposed here implement a new potential eld and external force in order to provide a deformation convergence, attraction by both near and far edges as well as snake behaviour selective according to the edge orientation. Furthermore, we conclude that in the case of model-based seg mentation, the internal force should include structural information about the expected snake shape. Experiments using this kind of snakes for segmenting bones in complex hand radiographs show a signicant improvement.