10 Best DICOM Viewers for Medical Images (2024 Update)

Dive into the world of medical imaging with our comprehensive guide on top DICOM viewers. Whether you're visualizing 3D regions or labeling lesions, we’ll help you find the perfect tool tailored to your needs.
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10
min read  ·  
April 30, 2024
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When it comes to medical imaging, DICOM files are the most popular format by a mile. However, various tools offer different functionalities related to how the files are displayed and what you can do with them. Depending on whether you need to visualize regions of interest in 3D or label lesions with segmentation masks, you may be interested in different software. Some solutions also allow you to browse DICOM files online, while others are only for specific operating systems.

So, with so many options available, which one should you choose?

In this guide, we'll reveal:

  • How to open .dcm files and the essential features of a good DICOM browser.
  • The best DICOM viewers and DICOM analysis tools.
  • Which ones are best for specific operating systems and use cases.

If you want to go straight to the list, here are our top 10 recommended solutions.

The best tools to open, annotate, and manage DICOM files are:

  1. V7 Darwin
  2. RadiAnt
  3. Osirix
  4. MicroDicom
  5. PostDICOM
  6. 3D Slicer
  7. Horos
  8. 3DimViewer
  9. Inobitec
  10. Ginkgo CADx

Now—

Before we review and discuss each of them one by one, let’s go through some general information about the dcm format itself. This will help us understand what features to consider when deciding on the best DICOM viewer.

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What is a DICOM file and how do you open it?

DICOM, which stands for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine, is a standard used for storing, transmitting, and handling medical imaging information. This format is widely adopted in fields such as radiology, cardiology, and dentistry, among others.

To open a .dcm file, you'll need specialized software known as a DICOM viewer. These viewers are designed to interpret the unique structure of DICOM files, ensuring that medical images and accompanying information are displayed correctly.

An example of a volumetric ultrasound dcm file displayed in an advanced DICOM viewer with 3d rendering functionalities
An example of a volumetric ultrasound dcm file displayed in an advanced DICOM viewer with 3d rendering functionalities

DICOM files stand apart in the realm of digital formats, primarily due to their comprehensive metadata. This metadata doesn't just store the medical image but also provides crucial instructions on how the image should be interpreted and displayed. For instance, a CT scan comprises multiple cross-sectional slices. When saved as DICOM files, each slice carries information about its position, orientation, and sequence relative to others.

When these individual slices are grouped, whether in a folder or zipped archive, a DICOM viewer can seamlessly arrange them into a coherent volumetric sequence. This ensures the data is in its intended order. Moreover, the depth of information in these files allows advanced DICOM viewers to turn the slices into multiplanar reconstruction views (MPR) or 3D visualizations, offering a holistic perspective of the scanned region.

Many modern DICOM viewers have evolved with the rise of AI in healthcare. These viewers can now export segmentation masks and other annotation data that can be utilized for creating machine learning models for radiology. With the right training, these models can assist in detecting and identifying medical anomalies such as neoplasms or help with preprocessing your .dcm files by pre-labeling basic anatomical structures.

Now that we've covered the basics and the evolution of DICOM viewers, let's delve into exploring the best viewers currently available on the market and discuss what they can achieve.

1. V7 Darwin: DICOM Analysis Software Powered by AI

DICOM image in V7 Darwin

Technically speaking, V7 is not primarily a DICOM viewer. It is a training data platform that allows its customers to solve computer vision tasks, such as object detection. While the platform is used across all industries, it's popular for radiology and digital pathology use cases thanks to its industry-specific features - including its DICOM viewer. As a matter of fact, V7 Darwin was the first ML labeling tool to implement DICOM support, and healthcare professionals are the single biggest user segment of the platform.

Thanks to V7's powerful DICOM functionality, you can use .dcm datasets to train AI models in the cloud, design intricate workflows for labeling and diagnostics, assign specific user roles, and transform the way you interact with and analyze DICOM data. Plus, you can seamlessly use V7 as an online DICOM browser without installing anything on your computer. V7 is your ultimate tool for DICOM analysis, unlocking a world of possibilities for healthcare professionals in search of advanced DICOM viewers.

Key features:

  • DICOM & NIfTI support. Import volumetric DICOM files directly into V7, extract MPR views, and annotate them using the platform's integrated tools such as pixel and voxel masks for segmenting regions of interest, including 3D segmentation.
  • Advanced image manipulation. Enhance your labeling process with tools like orientation markers, window levels, histograms, color maps, and contrast control.
  • Consensus stages. Perform blind tests to compare predictions of radiologists and AI models.
  • Customizable workflows. You can automate medical imaging workflows, connect custom models for segmentation tasks, or even hire professional labellers with a background in radiology.
  • Local data storage. While offering online browsing functionalities, V7 understands the importance of data privacy, especially in healthcare. For medical institutions, it offers local storage options to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Video files. Annotate video files, including ultrasonography, without frame rate errors. Use frame interpolation functionalities to speed up the labeling process.

V7's features, such as orthogonal views, image manipulation, and consensus stages, ensure that you get pixel-perfect segmentations. Moreover, the platform's commitment to data security, being FDA compliant and following HIPAA guidelines, ensures that your data remains protected. With its intuitive interface, high-speed performance, and ML features, it is one of the best solutions on the market.

Pricing:

💡 Read more: AI in Radiology: Transforming Medical Imaging with Machine Learning

2. RadiAnt: DICOM Viewer

RadiAnt DICOM viewer

While there are several DICOM viewers available, RadiAnt shines with a suite of features that make it a preferred choice of many radiologists. It's not just about viewing medical images—RadiAnt ensures that professionals can delve deep into the details, compare multiple series or studies, and even integrate with PACS hosts. And, if you're someone who appreciates organization, RadiAnt's unique way of organizing sets of images will be a game-changer.

Key features:

  • Intuitive interface. Designed for ease of use, facilitating quick access to all features.
  • Multi-slide view. Allows users to view up to 20 slides simultaneously.
  • Advanced measurement tools. Includes tools for measuring length, ellipse, pencil, angle, and Cobb angle.
  • Image adjustment. Offers tools for adjusting and enhancing the quality of the images.
  • Export options. Enables exporting selected images as JPEG, BMP, or WMV movies.
  • Patient data display. Allows for quick retrieval of patient data and history.

Many users point out how RadiAnt is "super fast and lightweight," making it perfect for tasks that demand speed and efficiency. However, the interface and the app itself is a bit dated compared to some new solutions available.

Pricing:

  • No free trial available.
  • RadiAnt operates on a subscription-based model. The pricing starts from 5 EUR (~5.45 USD) for a 1-month plan per PC. The cost varies based on the duration and quantity of licenses.
  • RadiAnt offers a CD/DVD version priced at 399 EUR (~434.70 USD). This version comes with a permanent license and includes 12 months of free updates.

3. OsiriX: DICOM Viewer for macOS

OsiriX: DICOM Viewer for macOS

OsiriX is one of the world's most popular DICOM viewers, boasting an intuitive user interface combined with high-performance capabilities. Developed from over 17 years of dedicated research in digital imaging, OsiriX not only adheres to the DICOM standard but also offers an open platform for the development of medical image processing tools. Its advanced post-processing techniques in both 2D and 3D, coupled with innovative 3D and 4D navigation, make it a standout. Furthermore, it integrates seamlessly with any PACS system.

Key features:

  • Fast performance. OsiriX is optimized for speed, ensuring swift image loading and processing.
  • Intuitive interface. Designed for ease, allowing medical professionals to navigate and access tools effortlessly.
  • Advanced post-processing. Offers sophisticated techniques in 2D and 3D, along with 3D and 4D navigation.
  • PACS integration. Complete compatibility with any PACS system for a streamlined workflow.
  • Certifications. OsiriX MD, the commercial variant, is both FDA cleared and CE II labeled, making it suitable for medical use.
  • Compatibility. Fully compatible with macOS 13 Ventura and optimized for both Intel and Apple Silicon processors.

OsiriX is a powerful diagnostic tool tailored for radiologists, medical care providers, and institutions that need comprehensive software for reviews, sharing feedback, or teaching.

Pricing:

  • You can try out OsiriX Lite (a demo version of the app) for free
  • OsiriX MD starts at $69.99/month. For a detailed breakdown and the most current pricing, visit their official pricing page.

4. MicroDicom: Advanced DICOM Reader and Processor

MicroDicom: Advanced DICOM Reader and Processor

MicroDicom is a specialized DICOM viewer for Windows that offers a range of features tailored for radiologists. It's designed to provide an intuitive interface, ensuring that users can easily navigate through complex medical images and data. With its advanced processing capabilities, MicroDicom stands out as a reliable tool for medical imaging.

Key features:

  • Supported DICOM images. The software supports various DICOM images, including those without compression, such as files using RLE. It also supports Structured Reports, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 transfer syntaxes, and encapsulated PDFs.
  • DICOM directory files. Users can open DICOM directory files and display a patient list from DICOMDIR.
  • Image manipulation. MicroDicom offers tools for image orientation in overlay, mouse-driven level-window, user-defined window presets, zooming, panning, brightness/contrast control, image resizing, rotation, flipping, and inversion.
  • DICOM attributes. Users can view the DICOM attributes of a selected image.
  • Compatibility. MicroDicom runs on different versions of Windows and is available for both x86 and x64 platforms. A portable version is also available.

MicroDicom, with its advanced features and flexible pricing, is a valuable tool for medical professionals. Whether you're an individual practitioner or part of a larger institution, MicroDicom offers solutions tailored to your needs. With its commitment to regular updates and a user-friendly interface, it's a reliable choice for DICOM viewing and processing.

Pricing:

  • MicroDicom DICOM Viewer. Priced at US$99 for a single computer license with 12 months of updates.
  • MicroDicom DICOM Viewer CD/DVD. A version for DICOM autorun distribution on CD/DVD/USB.
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5. PostDICOM: Comprehensive Cloud PACS & DICOM Viewer

PostDICOM: Comprehensive Cloud PACS & DICOM Viewer

PostDICOM is a robust platform that provides a CE certified Diagnostic DICOM Viewer integrated with its Cloud PACS solution. This platform is designed to facilitate medical teams in accessing, viewing, and reporting images and clinical documents with ease.

Key features:

  • Multi-modality. PostDICOM allows users to view DICOM images from various modalities such as MRI, CT, Ultrasound, X-ray, Endoscopy, Mammography, Nuclear Imaging, PET, and Angiography. It also offers advanced image processing tools like MPR, MIP, MINIP, AVGIP, and 3D rendering.
  • Zero footprint DICOM viewer. This HTML5-based viewer ensures that no patient information remains on the client machine after viewing. It supports standard functions like zoom, window level, pan, thickness, rotation, and measurements.
  • Clinical documents viewer. Apart from DICOM images, PostDICOM supports the storage of non-DICOM clinical documents in formats like JPEG, BMP, AVI, and MPEG. These can be associated with the corresponding patient record.
  • PET-CT / PET-MR fusion. The platform supports storage and viewing of PET/CT and PET/MR studies, allowing users to view series in MPR using MIP, MinIP, and AvgIP. It also offers a fusion function for compatible volumes and SUV calculations.
  • Reporting tools. PostDICOM provides a comprehensive reporting workflow, ensuring that orders are assigned to the responsible user at every step, minimizing errors.

PostDICOM ensures the utmost security with features like session and data transfer security, AES 256 encryption, a stringent password policy, and support for Two Factor Authentication (2FA). The platform's commitment to security, combined with its comprehensive features, makes it a top choice for radiologists and researchers.

Pricing:

  • The Lite Plan starts at $79.99/month, providing 100 GB Cloud Storage, 100 monthly shares, and support for 1 location.
  • For those requiring more advanced features, storage, or additional users, there are Pro, Advanced, and Custom plans available. For a detailed breakdown and to find the best plan suited to your requirements, visit their official pricing page.

6. 3D Slicer: Open-Source DICOM Viewer

3D Slicer: Open-Source DICOM Viewer

3D Slicer is a powerful, open-source platform dedicated to medical image informatics, image processing, and three-dimensional visualization. It has been widely adopted by professionals in radiology, surgery, and other related disciplines. The platform's versatility is evident in its ability to handle a variety of imaging data, making it a preferred choice for many.

Key features:

  • Extensions support. 3D Slicer supports a myriad of extensions that add diverse functionalities. From image analysis tools to data management solutions, these extensions enhance the software's capabilities.
  • Active community. One of the strengths of 3D Slicer is its vibrant community. This group of developers and users actively contribute to the platform's growth, ensuring it remains updated with the latest advancements in the field.
  • Training resources. For those new to the platform, 3D Slicer offers a wealth of training materials. This includes tutorials, sample data sets, and more, ensuring users can make the most of the software.
  • AI integration. The platform integrates AI-assisted segmentation capabilities, allowing for more accurate and efficient image processing.

Beyond general functionalities, 3D Slicer offers extensions tailored for specific needs. For instance, the LungCTAnalyzer extension is designed for the segmentation and analysis of lung CT scans, especially in the context of COVID-19 assessment.

3D Slicer stands out not just for its advanced features but also for its commitment to open-source principles. This ensures that the platform remains accessible to all, fostering innovation and collaboration in the medical imaging community.

Pricing:

3D Slicer is a free DICOM tool, ensuring that professionals and researchers can access its features without any financial barriers. However, certain extensions or additional functionalities might come with their own pricing models.

💡 Did you know? Out of twelve public COVID-19 CT scan datasets, only two used the DICOM format. A study found that less than one-third of public databases use dcm files and standardization is still a major problem.

7. Horos: Open-source DICOM viewer for MacOS

 Horos: Open-source DICOM viewer for MacOS

Horos is a renowned DICOM viewer tailored specifically for MacOS users. It stands out as a free and open-source solution, making it accessible to a wide range of medical professionals. Horos is built upon the foundation of OsiriX, a popular DICOM viewer described earlier on our list. It offers a plethora of features that cater to the needs of radiologists and other medical imaging professionals.

Key features:

  • Rich toolset. This DICOM software offers a comprehensive set of tools, including multiplanar reconstruction, maximum intensity projections, and volume rendering. This ensures that medical professionals can view and analyze DICOM images in depth.
  • Compatibility. Exclusively designed for MacOS, Horos is optimized to run seamlessly on macs, ensuring swift performance and stability.
  • Community support. Being open-source, Horos has a vibrant community of users who actively contribute to its development.
  • Integration with Radiopaedia. A unique feature of Horos is its ability to integrate with Radiopaedia through a plugin. This allows users to upload DICOM cases directly to Radiopaedia, a valuable feature for those looking to share and discuss cases with a broader medical imaging community.

Horos stands out as a powerful and free DICOM viewer for MacOS users. Its rich feature set, combined with community support, makes it a top choice for radiology professionals looking for a reliable and comprehensive DICOM viewing solution on MacOS.

Pricing:

  • You can download and install this DICOM tool for free.
  • The Horos Project emphasizes the importance of community. They encourage users to contribute and help sustain the project. Donations go towards maintaining the software and ensuring its continued development.

8. 3DimViewer: lightweight 3D DICOM viewer

3DimViewer: lightweight 3D DICOM viewer

3DimViewer, a collaborative product of 3Dim Laboratory and TESCAN, is a free and open-source DICOM viewer tailored for viewing 3D datasets. Designed to be lightweight and user-friendly, it's compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X, making it a versatile choice for medical professionals and researchers.

Key features:

  • 3D visualization. Enables detailed 3D visualization of volumetric medical images.
  • Multiplanar views. Provides multiplanar and orthogonal views, ensuring comprehensive image analysis.
  • Density adjustment. Features a density window for optimal image clarity.
  • Measurement capabilities. Equipped with tools for precise density and distance measurements.
  • DICOM integration. Facilitates seamless import and handling of DICOM datasets.
  • Advanced rendering. Utilizes GPU capabilities for both volume and 3D surface rendering.
  • Segmentation and modeling. Offers tissue segmentation based on thresholding and allows users to create 3D surface models of segmented tissues.

3DimViewer stands out as a reliable and comprehensive free DICOM app. Their website offers a range of video tutorials, from DICOM data anonymization to creating 3D models for printing. The team behind the application actively encourages user feedback, suggestions, and contributions, ensuring its continuous evolution to meet the needs of the medical imaging community.

Pricing:

  • 3DimViewer is available for free download.
  • There is an extended version offering additional functionalities for those seeking more advanced features.

9. Inobitec: DICOM Viewer

Inobitec: DICOM Viewer

Inobitec DICOM Viewer is a versatile software solution tailored for visualizing, archiving, and exporting medical images in the DICOM format. Compatible with a variety of medical equipment manufacturers, it offers two distinct editions: LITE and PRO, each designed to cater to specific user needs.

Key features:

  • Multi-platform support. Seamlessly operates on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • 3D DICOM capabilities. Advanced tools for 3D image rendering and manipulation.
  • User manual and tutorials. A comprehensive guide available in English to assist users.
  • Medical device registration: Recognized and registered as a medical device.

Inobitec DICOM Viewer's commitment to quality and continuous development makes it a reliable choice for medical professionals. Its range of features, combined with competitive pricing, ensures that users get value for their investment.

Pricing:

  • LITE Edition costs $541 and it is a static edition equipped with standard functionality suitable for basic medical imaging needs.
  • PRO Edition costs $1,218 and sees regular updates every quarter, offering extended functionality features and the option to integrate additional modules.

10. Ginkgo CADx: free DCM file viewer for Linux

Ginkgo CADx: free DCM file viewer for Linux

Ginkgo CADx is an advanced open-source DICOM viewer and a dicomizer designed to provide a comprehensive solution for medical imaging. With a focus on both professionals and students in the medical field, Ginkgo CADx offers a wide range of features tailored to meet the needs of radiologists, cardiologists, and other specialists.

Key features:

  • Cross-platform. Ginkgo CADx is available for Windows, Linux, and MacOS, ensuring accessibility for users across different operating systems.
  • Extensible architecture. Ginkgo CADx is designed with an extensible architecture, allowing developers to create custom plugins and extensions to enhance its functionality.
  • DICOM network. The software offers DICOM network support, enabling users to query and retrieve studies from other PACS sources.

Ginkgo CADx is an open-source project, and its development is driven by the community. The software is hosted on GitHub, allowing developers from around the world to contribute to its growth and improvement. Its rich feature set, combined with its open-source nature, makes it a top choice for medical professionals looking for a reliable DICOM viewing solution, especially for Linux.

Pricing:

  • Ginkgo CADx is available for free download as it is an open-source project. Users can access its features without any financial barriers.
  • For extended functionalities or support, users might need to explore other platforms or versions.

Best DICOM software: Summary

With a variety of options at your disposal, ranging from online DICOM viewers that grant you access to medical images from any location with an internet connection to downloadable, lightweight apps that easily install on your local machine, we hope that our selection of DICOM viewer solutions has helped you find the best one to meet your unique requirements.

Whether you prefer the convenience of web-based solutions or the offline accessibility of standalone applications, our list is geared to provide versatility and platform compatibility, enabling seamless integration into your workflow.

Here is a short version of our guide to top tools for dcm files:

  1. V7 Darwin: Best for medical labeling, AI-powered DICOM analysis, advanced workflows, and data security.
  2. RadiAnt: Ideal for an intuitive DICOM viewer with fast performance and advanced tools.
  3. OsiriX: Top choice for Mac users with fast performance and advanced post-processing.
  4. MicroDicom: Windows users benefit from versatile DICOM support and image manipulation.
  5. PostDICOM: Offers comprehensive cloud PACS with multi-modality support and robust reporting.
  6. 3D Slicer: Open-source viewer with extensions and AI integration for medical image informatics.
  7. Horos: MacOS users get a free DICOM viewer with community support.
  8. 3DimViewer: Lightweight and user-friendly 3D DICOM viewer with advanced rendering.
  9. Inobitec: Versatile DICOM viewer compatible with various platforms and 3D capabilities.
  10. Ginkgo CADx: Open-source DICOM viewer with cross-platform support, suitable for Linux users.

We hope this article has been a valuable resource in your quest to find the best DICOM viewer for your specific needs. Stay informed, stay innovative, and continue to explore the ever-expanding horizons of medical imaging with confidence and precision.

Casimir is a tech journalist and content writer with a keen interest in all things AI. His main areas of focus are computer vision, AI-generated art, and deep learning. He's also a fan of contemporary digital art and photography.

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