How to View DICOM Files on a Mac

A common practice with radiology services nowadays is to provide your x-rays on a CD after your visit. These CDs typically come with their own viewer program that automatically runs when you insert the CD into your computer. This works great for most people assuming your security protections are disabled to allow autorun from a CD and you are _running Windows_. If you are using a **Mac** it gets a little tricky. I did some googling and the top hit was OsiriX. They have a diagnostic version that costs thousands of dollars but they also have a free version for non-diagnostic use.

The program has more features than most people would need for just a one-time viewer. It stores a database of your x-rays in a database in a folder called “OsiriX Data” in your documents folder. This is useful if you want to keep track of x-rays over time.

Another nice feature of OsiriX is their iPad version. Store your .DICOM images on your Google Drive or DropBox folder to make them available to the app. It costs $29 and appears to offer some of the same non-diagnostic tools.

Both of these tools pack features at the expense of ease of use. Be prepared to stumble through the menus to find what you want.

The desktop version can be used to export your X-Ray images to other formats like JPG where they can be viewed on any computer. JPG is what is known a lossy format. This means that some quality is lost to make the file size smaller. The quality loss doesn’t much matter for most snapshots but the lost of fidelity is not a good idea for an x-ray.

Finally, if you don’t need the full features of OsiriX there’s also Lemke Software’s GraphicConverter. It can open most any format including .DICOM files.

Leave a Reply