Structure model type and trabecular thickness are important characteristics in describing cancellous bone architecture. It has been qualitatively observed that a radical change of trabeculae from plate-like to rod-like occurs in aging, bone remodeling, and osteoporosis. Thickness of trabeculae has traditionally been measured using model-based histomorphometric methods on two-dimensional (2-D) sections. However, no quantitative study has been published based on three-dimensional (3-D) methods on the age-related changes in structure model type and trabecular thickness for human peripheral (tibial) cancellous bone. In this study, 160 human proximal tibial cancellous bone specimens from 40 normal donors, aged 16 to 85 years, were collected. These specimens were micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) scanned, then the micro-CT images were segmented using optimal thresholds. From accurate 3-D data sets, structure model type and trabecular thickness were quantified by means of novel 3-D methods. Structure model type was assessed by calculating the structure model index (SMI). The SMI was quantified based on a differential analysis of the triangulated bone surface of a structure. This technique allows quantification of structure model type, such as plate, rod objects, or mixture of plates or rods. Trabecular thickness is calculated directly from 3-D images, which is especially important for an a priori unknown or changing structure. Furthermore, 2-D trabecular thickness was also calculated based on the plate model. Our results showed that structure model type changed towards more rod-like in the elderly, and that trabecular thickness declined significantly with age. These changes become significant after 80 years of age for human tibial cancellous bone, whereas both properties seem to remain relatively unchanged between 20 and 80 years. Although a fairly close relationship was seen between 3-D trabecular thickness and 2-D trabecular thickness, real 3-D trabecular thickness was significantly underestimated using 2-D method.