Life, Running, & Medicine.
Notes on life as I see it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

ImageJ: Freeware DICOM viewer for PC

For the medicine nerd in all of you, I thought I would pass this along...

I recently spent a lot of time looking on the internet for a freeware DICOM (medical image filetype based on BMP or TIFF) viewer for looking at computerized CT scans at home "offline" - mostly for a research project I am doing. ANYWAY, there is a ton of trialware outthere. Some of it is good, most of it is not. Most are very large software packages and very difficult to use/install/uninstall.
ImageJ is Java-based DICOM viewer that has all the features most of us non-superuser-non-radiologists could need in a lean & mean package. It is open source and there is a large collection of plugins that integrate easily (some quite elaborate). ImageJ's web-home is hosted by the NIH, but not really government sponsored or supported. There are some forums and ImageJ superusers out there that you can contact.

Most notably, ImageJ supports a variety of formats, but not compressed DICOMs. This is kind of a pain because DICOM compression is sometimes very proprietary to the originating machine, so uncompressing it on third party software is hard. So far I have been dealing with uncompressed BMP files, which load easily using the File-->Import-->Image Sequence... command. By having my BMPs of the same series in a single folder, ImageJ knows to load them all into a stack.

Once loaded there are all the standard adjustments and stack scrolling that can be done. There are several good filters and 3D tools built into the base software as well. There is also easy image Copy and Export features. A huge list of plugin addons is kept on the ImageJ website.

Plugin: Volume Viewer. So far this seems to be the best way to look at coronal and sagittal reformats with ImageJ. The plugin is found: . It is simple to use, allows arbitrary planes, and allow for easy export of "saved" images.

All in all, this is definitely the best, simplest, and arguably the most powerful freeware DICOM viewer out there, especially for the casual user.

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