An environment mapping approach for texture mapping of anatomical objects with glistening was studied and implemented in surgical simulation. A classifier based on the generalized goal of achieving glistening effect, which depends on the underlying physics and the mapped data, was used as a visual metric and shown to be realistic in the presence of achieving the desired quality in real time in the presence of haptic feedback. The proposed approach was compared with the standard texture mapping approaches used in existing surgical simulation methods that generally suffer from texture stretching and with little or no glistening effect. In our work, we have successfully applied environment mapping techniques for realistic real-time rendering of anatomical objects. We also show several examples of anatomical objects with glistening effects that mimic real anatomical objects. © 2002, The authors.