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

Jun 4, 2011 - 19 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 that will render these DICOM files as a fully controllable and playable 3D movie. Not only can these apps 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 DICOM Medical Image Viewer for Mac, iPhone, iPad

You can use any of the following apps to view DICOM medical images on Mac, iPhone, or iPad; OsiriX, Miele-LXIV, Horos, or DICOM Viewer. Here are links for each:

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 impressed to find out that these apps are offered for free for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

My doctor happened to be using an older Windows tablet – remember those? – but I can see these apps 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.


Related articles:

Posted by: AJ in iPad, iPhone, Mac OS


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  1. MedTech says:

    Disgusting to advertise a software that does not work to those in need. Corporate level privacy software costs less than this excuse of an app. Not to mention, **beware data privacy in the lite version** as you may be agreeing to more than you realize.

    Use Miele-LXIV instead, see above for sound comment ^

    Best of luck to any patients seeking self-advocacy and information.

    • Noman says:

      Agreed. The OsiriX is not free and requires lots of information to download. I am galled by the fact that my doctor requires me to download that crap. Also, I was given a DVD of my diagnostic images but no contemporary laptops have DVD drives any more. You should definitely go to the Mac App Store and download Miele-LXIV as it’s safe and free. No problems using it so far.

  2. John David Giese says:

    This website provides a simple (and free) way to view DICOM files online:

    • Bob says:

      I am trying this site right now and all the images are just white. I can see the L / R marker but everything else is completely white.

  3. j says:

    i just used it to look up ultrasound pictures and it worked fine for my old macbook OS X el captian! thanks so much! Program keeps crashing but that’s probably my old computer. Got to see the images and that what I wanted it for!

  4. Mick says:

    I just tried to install this, which required going to a website to receive a download link which could only be obtained by filling out a form containing your email, phone number, city etc. A tad annoying, but I just entered bogus data except for my email address so I could receive the link. Then after downloading the installer asked for my password instead of the usual drag the application into the Applications Folder. So I quit and rummaged around a little in the installer package. I saw stuff pertaining to SSL communications and just got a bad feeling so I aborted the whole thing. As always, nothing is free…

  5. Fred says:

    Followed the provided link to the OsiriX web site. All I had to do was register and they sent me a link to download the free “Lite” version. Downloaded, installed and runs fine on OS X 10.12.5. Actually runs much better and has more features than the Windows only Java application on the DVD.

    Thanks for the tip!

  6. Patrick says:

    The osiris website wouldn’t even email the download link to me for the lite version as indicated on their site.
    This whole situation is incredibly lame for a patient. $699 to buy an image viewer? Are you serious?
    Shame on Osiris for proposing such a thing and shame on the doctor’s office for going along with such a sham.

    • Paul says:

      Click on the “Get download link for OsiriX Lite” button and you can run the free version.

      A lot of discs from the doctors office also include a simple viewer for MRI and CT images too.

  7. 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.

  8. Lisa says:

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

  9. 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”

  10. 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.

  11. John says:

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

  12. Dave says:

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

  13. Joseph says:

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

  14. Mirrors says:

    Creepy pictures.

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