What Is DICOM?

DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine) is a standard that describes how medical images and their metadata are stored and transferred between devices such as scanners, workstations, and servers. DICOM can be used to store data from multiple medical imaging modalities to create a full description of a diagnostic study. These include radiology imaging modalities such as CT, PET, MRI, X-ray, and ultrasound. Advantages to working with DICOM include:

  • DICOM is the most common standard for storing images in the medical field
  • DICOM enables you to acquire and store image volumes and patient data in a single data store
  • Images saved in DICOM format have high dynamic range (up to 16-bit)
  • Many medical device and software manufacturers fully support the standard
MR image saved in DICOM format.

MR image saved in DICOM format.

MATLAB® and Image Processing Toolbox™ enable you to access and work directly with medical images in DICOM format. Using the  DICOM Browser app, you can analyze data in DICOM files as easily as you would with TIFF or JPEG image files. You can also use the built-in dicomread, dicomwrite and dicomanon functions to read, write and anonymize DICOM files, respectively.

To learn more about DICOM file image analysis with MATLAB, see Image Processing Toolbox™, Computer Vision Toolbox™, and Deep Learning Toolbox™.

See also: MATLAB and Simulink for Medical Devices, FDA Software Validation