Finite element modelling of musculoskeletal systems, with geometrical structures constructed from computed tomography (CT) scans, is a useful and powerful tool for biomechanical studies. The use of CT scans from living human subjects, however, is still limited. Accurate reconstruction of thin cortical bone structures from CT scans of living human subjects is especially problematic, due to low CT resolution that results from mandatory low radiation doses and/or involuntary movements of the subject. In this study, a new method for mapping cortical thickness is described. Using the method, cortical thickness measurements of a coxal (pelvis) bone obtained from CT scans of a cadaver were mapped to the coxal geometry as obtained through CT scans of a live human subject, resulting in accurate cortical thickness while maintaining geometric fidelity of the live subject. The mapping procedure includes shape-preserving parameterisation, mesh movement and interpolation of thickness using a search algorithm. The methodology is applicable to modelling of other bones where accurate cortical thickness is needed and for which such data exist. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.