Active shape models (ASMs) have been widely used for extracting human anatomies in medical images given their capability for shape regularization of topology preservation. However, sensitivity to model initialization and local correspondence search often undermines their performances, especially around highly variable contexts in computed-tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) images. In this study, we propose an augmented ASM (AASM) by integrating the multiatlas label fusion (MALF) and level set (LS) techniques into the traditional ASM framework. Using AASM, landmark updates are optimized globally via a region-based LS evolution applied on the probability map generated from MALF. This augmentation effectively extends the searching range of correspondent landmarks while reducing sensitivity to the image contexts and improves the segmentation robustness. We propose the AASM framework as a two-dimensional segmentation technique targeting structures with one axis of regularity. We apply AASM approach to abdomen CT and spinal cord (SC) MR segmentation challenges. On 20 CT scans, the AASM segmentation of the whole abdominal wall enables the subcutaneous/visceral fat measurement, with high correlation to the measurement derived from manual segmentation. On 28 3T MR scans, AASM yields better performances than other state-of-the-art approaches in segmenting white/gray matter in SC.