Open, View, and Read DICOM .DCM Medical Images in Mac OS X & iOS with OsiriX

Jun 4, 2011 - 9 Comments

OsiriX DICOM MRI Imagery Viewer for Mac OS X

Files from medical imaging devices like MRI’s, ultrasound, PET, CT scans, etc come as a collection of .DCM files which will not open on their own through just any image or video application. No big deal, because I came across some pretty amazing software for Mac OS X and iOS called OsiriX that will render these DICOM files as a fully controllable and playable 3D movie. Not only can OsiriX view the DICOM files, but you can then export them either as static images in a variety of friendly formats like JPG and TIFF or even as QuickTime movies.

Download OsiriX DICOM Medical Image Viewer

In my case, these DICOM files came from an MRI. I’m just a curious patient, not a medical professional, but after paying the equivalent of a brand new midrange MacBook Pro to get an MRI, I wanted to be able to view the resulting MRI DICOM images on my Mac when I got home. OsiriX delivered in a far more impressive manner than I expected, it is one of the most interesting applications I’ve ever used. Considering how expensive everything else is in the American health care world, I was shocked to find out that it’s offered for free for Mac OS X and just $30 for iOS.

My doctor happened to be using an older Windows tablet – remember those? – but I can see OsiriX and iPads taking the healthcare world by storm in the very near future. In fact, this combination is already in use at some hospitals around the world, and you can watch a video below of surgeons using an iPad with MRI images within OsiriX during an operation.

OsiriX HD for iPad in use during surgery:

More screen shots and video:
3D MRI image DCM renderer

DICOM viewer OsiriX for iPhone

And no, this has no relation to the teenager selling his kidney to buy an iPad 2.

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Posted by: AJ in iPad, iPhone, Mac OS X


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  1. Mirrors says:

    Creepy pictures.

  2. Joseph says:

    You needed an MRI? Hope it wasn’t serious!

  3. Dave says:

    This read like a commercial for the software. I wonder.

  4. John says:

    Dave, this is open source. If you want support, or you want it FDA-cleared, then you pay.

  5. Joseph Farrugia says:

    this program is non-functional in 10.6 & is too bloated.
    Use xnview to view & convert to JPEG files, much easier for X-ray scans.

  6. Michael says:

    try out this free viewer that runs in your web browser. no downloads necessary!
    – go to
    – drag & drop images from your CD into the box
    – click “View”

  7. Lisa says:

    MRI files show up with ? on each image that is .dcm. Not a very useful program.

  8. Mike says:

    I just downloaded the program. It’s free, works exactly as described, quickly, cleanly and easily. While I agree the article reads like an advertisement, I’ve been frustrated that my doctors’ offices give me CDs that only work in a Microsoft environment. OsiriX gave me access to these files. I’m very pleased. Thank you for the article.

    • JDn says:

      The app is free to read DICOM medical images, if you think someone writing about something being FREE is an ad then wow you are an interesting person, must be a riot at parties. Meanwhile, your MRI probably cost $2000+ if you’re part of the USA for-profit health industry.

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