Working with DICOM Images

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In this chapter . . .

Digital Image Communication in Medicine (DICOM) defines a standard method of transmitting digital medical-image information between devices, such as computers, servers, or imaging equipment. The standard not only prescribes how to communicate with other imaging equipment and databases, but also how to store images.

This chapter discusses how MIPAV works with DICOM images. It also explains how to browse DICOM images and send and retrieve DICOM images, which includes the following tasks:

  • Setting up a hosts table to indicate where you want to send images ("internet protocol (IP) address: A numeric ID that is used to identify your computer on a Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) network. An example of a TCP/IP network is the Internet.")
  • Testing server connections ("Testing the connection")
  • Posing queries and retrieving DICOM images ("Posing queries and retrieving images" and "Receiving and sending image files" )
  • Sending DICOM images to another device ("To send image files" )

It also explains how to edit DICOM tags, protect patient privacy by removing DICOM tag information from images, and convert image formats, such as Analyze or TIFF, to DICOM format.

Understanding how MIPAV works with DICOM images

You can use MIPAV to access images and information that were generated by DICOM-compatible imaging equipment. Some researchers at NIH use MIPAV to access DICOM-compatible archive systems, such as the Kodak Cemax-Icon Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), which includes the AutoRad devices located in the NIH clinical center. The PACS system consists of software, hardware, and networks. PACS provides the means for medical specialists to digitally acquire images, transmit the images and image-related data using a communications network, display and interpret images, and store and retrieve images. PACS also provides an interface to other systems that contain patient data.
Note: The DICOM standard is detailed in the 16-part documentation set Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) Standard (refer to Appendix B, DICOM Conformance Statement.) MIPAV is DICOM version 3.0 compliant. Compliance information appears in Appendix B of this document.

Digital images are acquired on a medical imaging device, such as a Computed Tomography (CT) scanner. The image can remain on the device or be transferred via a DICOM-compatible server to a patient database or other archive media. Once the image is acquired and stored, you can then use MIPAV to query and retrieve, receive, or send DICOM image files.

Next: Browsing DICOM images